By Margaret Hawkins, Art News, May 2003.
This exhibition of Clark's new paintings (all dated 2002) demonstrated his continuing exploration of mood and emotional nuance through the broad stroke. A seminal 1950s New York–based Abstract Expressionist, Ed Clark now divides his time between New York and Paris. A master of controlled accident, he pours paint onto floor–laid canvases and moves it around with a broom, managing to preserve his own dynamic physical gesture. The broom is absent, yet its presence is preserved in the motion of the paint. His big, arcing strokes of ice–cream colors evoke thoughts of tumultuous weather systems and sensual nudes, without ever departing from pure abstraction.
What stood out most in the best of these paintings was this purity of gesture, this sense of the literal clean sweep. Le Mouvement #2 creates the sensation of riding the ocean surf, eye to eye with the crest of a single frothy white wave, while Pink Olive calls to mind a vast tropical beach over which a bright green storm has passed. These exotic sensations tingle and then dissolve; we are left not with a sense of pace or time, but with the visceral effect of the paint itself.
Clark's ability to conjure up a sense of nature's rhythm brings to mind J. M. W. Turner's wildly romantic landscapes. But unlike Turner, Clark only references landscapes metaphorically.