Allana Clarke: Oh Gods, of Dust and Rainbows

Jeff Katzin, PhD, | Associate Curator, View, September 1, 2022

 

As part of her contribution to FRONT 2022, Allana Clarke ambitiously created one of her largest artworks to date. Titled At a Depth Beyond Anyone, the massive black form hangs down from the wall and spills out onto the gallery floor, full of folds and intricate textures. Clarke crafted this sculpture from a substance she has utilized many times: hair-bonding glue, a liquid latex usually used to attach hair extensions to the scalp. As she poured out hundreds of little bottles, the rubbery material remained malleable for many days, allowing Clarke to gradually pinch and twist it into shape. The final work is a record of this process, and also of catharsis-of the artist grappling not just with a novel medium, but also with the cultural associations it holds.Through her work, Clarke intends to critique the rituals and ideals of Black femininity that she has encountered throughout her life. While cosmetic products often enforce restrictive standards of beauty, in her hands they are transformed, almost magically, into evocative works of art.

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