In Sides of a Line, Heather abstracts domestic space and puts it in tension in this kinetic sculpture that references home-making in the age of the climate crisis. Heather built this full-size working mockup at the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington DC in 2018.   The physical structure is a set for a performance piece where a tight rope walker traverses back and forth along the 30′ long tight rope.  While the performer balances on the tight rope, the wall (powered by an internal motor) slowly moves back and forth along a track.  Because the wall travels so slowly, the performer appears oblivious to the fact that the wall is moving – slowly constricting and opening the space.  Unfortunately, because of the physical limitations of the gallery floor (it couldn’t handle the tension of the tight rope), the performer could not be part of this installation.  A tight rope walker will be included in future showings.

Sides of a Line takes its visual cues from the aesthetics of Western success as performed in the home. The work alludes to the paradox and anxiety of a privileged life in the age of climate change – as we pursue the American Dream through meticulous home-making and associated consumption, we make humanity less secure globally.

Using a palette of beeswax, military parachutes, and marble laminate, Clark abstracts domestic space and puts it in tension.  In this kinetic sculpture, she forces two walls along a track in a slow, mechanized, repetitive touch. Running the length of the piece is a tightrope.  In future iterations, this piece will include performance by a tight rope walker.  Despite her critique of contemporary life, embedded within the installation are small clues of hope: references to nature, biophilia, and sensory experience, which provide alternative patterns for living and invite us to engage with our bodies.

Although Sides of a Line explores global issues, it is highly personal.  As a mother of two young children, Clark contemplates the threat that climate change poses to our very notion of home and attempts to peel back the illusion that her own pursuit of a comfortable and safe home for her family is not tied to macro issues.

As 2017 artist-in-residence at Woods Hole Research Center, a leading climate change think tank, Clark was confronted with data on the humanitarian crisis that is emerging in the wake of climate change due to storms, food insecurity, limited resources, and associated conflict.  As described in a US Department of Defense 2015 congressional report “climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water.”

Detail of beeswax wall

PHOTO Credit – Anne Kim for Laura Metzler Photography.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of SpacesaverSpacesaver InteriorsThornton TomasettiPureBondFormica, and QUIKRETE.