Anne Thompson has long explored the shifting meaning of signs and symbols in relation to their social setting, whether making paintings, prints, or outdoor projections. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began designing posters featuring bold, black-and-white symbols and installing them on trail kiosks throughout Berkshire County. This unsanctioned project sought to engage and complicate public messaging at a time when people increasingly ventured into and sought meaning in the outdoors. As striking as they are mysterious, Thompson’s abstract forms suggest public wayfinding, but also digital iconography, modernist logotypes, or even ancient languages. Now, Thompson continues this series at the Clark, where she will use the existing infrastructure of trail kiosks on and around the museum campus for a rotating installation. Every two weeks for the two-month duration of the project, the artist will install new sets of posters onto the blank surfaces of seven freestanding wood structures, for a total of forty-eight unique prints. Thompson uses wheat paste, a delicate, impermanent technique, to evoke the layered, worn, and torn textures of urban streetscapes in this natural setting. And by mixing metaphors—organic and artificial, public and private, old and new, evocative and opaque—Thompson invites open-ended and ephemeral encounters on the trails. Click here to view the trail map.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Anne Thompson (b. 1963 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina) is a visual arts faculty member at Bennington College, where she is director and curator of the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery. Thompson will document each of the prints in situ and produce an artist’s book at the conclusion of the project.
This project is presented in partnership with Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation.
This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, associate curator of contemporary projects.