February 11, 2023–January 21, 2024
Chine collé and embossment with hand cut copper plates on somerset
44 x 30 inches (111.8 x 76.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Mrs., Maspeth, NY.
This yearlong installation in public spaces around the Clark features work in a variety of media by Elizabeth Atterbury (b. 1982, West Palm Beach, Florida; lives and works in Portland, Maine). Atterbury makes vibrant geometric prints using chine collé and embossment; textured monochrome reliefs in raked mortar; and wood and stone sculptures that greatly enlarge objects of personal significance. Throughout her practice, Atterbury is interested in questions of legibility and opacity, improvisation and play, and object-making and remaking as ways to think through her interrupted family histories and Chinese American heritage.
The title Oracle Bones refers to pieces of ox bone or tortoise shell that were used for pyromancy—divination by fire—in late Shang Dynasty China (second millennium BCE). In tracing her lineage, Atterbury often returns to her great great grandfather, the scholar and calligrapher who first recognized inscriptions on these archaeological fragments as being the earliest form of Chinese writing. Inspired by these objects, some of which are concealed within Atterbury’s sculpture at the Clark, the artist asks: “Can lost, interrupted, and broken stories—or the remnants from their various disappearances—regain meaning, retain it, or stumble back into it?”
This installation in the Manton Research Building and the Lower Clark Center is free and open to the public. It is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, curator of contemporary projects.