Vanessa Balbach Clarke paints abstractions using a variety of techniques and mixed media on large, unprimed linen canvases. With a background in design, she continues to examine the limits of landscape incorporating female power dynamics into the figurative/landscape relationship. She holds a B.A. from Denison University, a Post Baccalaureate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


After long walks in nature I sit down, create a palette and begin to paint the unnoticed or seemingly invisible – the quiet transitions. These discoveries are my departure point for painting as a person who was intended to accomplish quietly. My process incorporates actively encouraging paint through hand washed, wrinkled, raw linen. Permitting paint to seep, halt or setting it free are all intentional actions. This defiance of order and the hierarchy of painting is specific and personal. My interest in painting ‘illogically’ from the back of a canvas is meant to reveal curtained activities representing a wealth of concealed collective voices. Decisions to activate liminal spaces are calculated choices to underscore the necessity for transparency of information in response to historical narratives.