John W. Clark pursues painting as an end in itself as well as a means to exploring themes related to architecture and design. In addition to painting,John is a Chicago based architect and planner, and partner in a diversified architecture and planning firm.He is especially interested in work that unites the concerns of various disciplines.At a time when so much process is becoming computerized, he considers painting especially important because it deals directly with form, harmony, color and theme:freely, and independently of technical demands. John has won national design and design/build com-petitions. He has been recognized for his architectural work for a series of innovative projects.Recent work includes master planning projects in China.He has designed a broad range of projects ranging from large-scale municipal, institutional and educational facilities to high-rise, multi-use office and hotel complexes. John has completed a wide variety of significant projects involving urban planning, municipal, historic, and contextual design.
“Chess set design has long intrigued me. Chess is an abstract game concerned with movement through time. Though I grew up playing on more figural sets, the abstract and minimal sets, such as Man Ray, Josef Hartwig, or Damien Hirst have designed, seem to better complement the intellectual aspect of chess. This drawing explores the architectural essence of chess. The set is drawn full scale, with a board of regulation 2 ¼” x 2 ¼” squares. The pieces are shown in both plan and elevation. I prefer pieces that are round in plan, since these don't demand alignment within their squares. The queen is very serious and no-nonsense, like Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, or Angela Merkel: cylindrical, almost phallic, but with a crown topped with an abstracted breast. Made for work. Though she could be taller herself, she humors the king by letting him be conventionally taller. Like many of my architectural drawings, often on dark or black paper, this one creates its own space within the plane of the wall. A friend brought me this soft handmade black paper with bright red threads, which has influenced the color scheme of the drawing. When burnished by drawing, the paper frays: This forms additional texture which, together with the deckled edge, bring a sort of archaic and grounded quality to the drawing’s contemporary and abstract design and delineation.”