In her artwork, Heather Theresa Clark builds systems that critique our current world predicament. Her work plays on what she calls cultural neurosis: the human tendency to over-consume, over-build, over-groom, etc. in lieu of direct physical exertion to ensure survival. She views this as a misdirected attempt to satisfy basic primal urges for shelter, food, and clothing in a society where actions are grossly amplified because one gallon of gasoline equals five hundred hours of human work output.
Heather’s work and perspective have evolved from her background in green building, urban planning, and ecology, and most recently from her life in exurbia, where she has lived and worked for the past six years. She is embedded in a landscape that feeds on cultural neurosis. Meadows, forests, and farms transitioning to tract homes and cul de sacs have become her muse. As an inhabitant of exurbia, Heather is both complicit and trapped in the consumption economy and its byproducts – climate change, inequality, unhealthiness, boredom.
Here, the uncanny valley, which is usually discussed in relation to artificial intelligence, appears to Heather in the industrially designed and generated vernacular; she works with her hands in defiance. She dissects infrastructure, places, and the meaning of the built environment and its relation to nature.
Heather’s work and life has led her to believe that greater satisfaction can be achieved through physical proximity to meeting one’s basic needs – building with one’s hands, using one’s body, growing one’s own food. She yearns to reinvent how we live, using art, architecture and public interventions to catalyze built environments that power themselves, cleanse themselves, transform waste, provide wildlife habitat, produce food, and deeply satisfy inhabitants.
Heather Theresa Clark approaches art making as a planner, green developer, and ecologist. She holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, summa cum laude, in Environmental Science and Community Planning, a self-designed major. As founder of Biome Studio, she has transformed a burned building shell into an open-air theater with a living sculpture; co-created the Busycle, a 15 person-pedal powered bus; overseen the largest deep energy retrofit in the U.S.; converted historic mills into green low-income housing; and installed over one megawatt of solar pv on 2,300 low-income apartments. Heather is also an activist. Heather is the founder of the Play-In for Climate Action, a family-oriented climate change protest held annually at the US Capitol by Moms Clean Air Force, a special project of the Environmental Defense Fund. Heather is a Hamiltonian Fellow, the 2016 recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Sculpture Fellowship Award, and the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Woods Hole Research Center, a leading global climate change think tank.