Seth Clark’s collages and sculpture focus on deteriorating architecture. Usually designed for permanence, buildings are constantly being challenged by geological, meteorological, and other external forces. Clark enjoys studying the way they fall apart and the way we struggle to keep them up to date. He closely observes decaying structures in both urban and rural environments—including abandoned homes and factories in Pittsburgh, where he’s based, and old barns he discovers on road trips—and wants to share the beauty he sees. He writes, “Among all of the clutter—the shards of wood and layers of rubble—there remains a gentle resolve.… The buildings, often on the brink of ruin, have something very energized and present trying to escape from their fragmented reality.”

Clark creates his works through a layering process of found paper and wood, with various mixed media and drawing incorporated later to bring definition and depth to the materials. The found materials add texture and tactility to the work. This series grew out of earlier work where Clark made collages out of trash and scraps. This method of hands-on, spatial development played an important role in his digital work as well as his works on wood and paper. He discovered his love of collage while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where he earned a BFA in graphic design.

His drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally, including at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. Recent honors include Best in Show at the Three Rivers Arts Festival and a feature in New American Paintings. Clark was named Pittsburgh’s 2015 Emerging Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. He is the recipient of three Design Excellence Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Pittsburgh. He is a 2019 artist in residence at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s Museum Lab, where he is working on a large-scale, site-specific sculpture.

Images courtesy of the artist. View more of Clark’s work at his website:

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Clark, Seth. “Fragmentation.” Issues in Science and Technology 36, no. 1 (Fall 2019): 48–55.

Vol. XXXVI, No. 1, Fall 2019