A MEMOIR OF ART, FAMILY AND MENTAL HEALTH
I’ve been an artist for many years, and writing has grown out of that creative space.
“The Clearing” is a memoir about ‘spaces between’ and what may be learned in them. As I clear the family home after the death of both my parents, the memories held there prompt reflections on my family’s flawed strategies for coping with my mother’s mental illness, the isolation of my father in caring for her, and how these relationships shifted as my parents aged.
These are threaded through with insights drawn from classical and scientific ways of understanding empty space, like the ‘ether’ and dark matter, and from the calm, contemplative space that art has always offered me.
PRAISE FOR THE CLEARING
“Samantha Clark writes on the subtle edge of words and thought. She renders the world within and the world of ideas with electric sensitivity and acute intelligence”
“As an artist, Clark is adept at dealing with metaphors and symbolism, and her forays into science and metaphysics feel like natural, unforced extensions of her grief and guilt, clarifying rather than obfuscating the path she has found through this turbulent phase of her life. Readers who have been through similar experiences will find much in this sensitive and articulate memoir which they can identify with and draw solace from”
“Perceptive…a reflection on art, life and the beauty to be found in things we can never fully understand.“
Times Literary Supplement
“Samantha Clark’s lyrically written memoir is a sensitive and haunting account of what it is like to grow up with a mentally ill parent, and how it affected her family and own life. It is a powerful meditation about fractured relationships, human vulnerability and resilience, loneliness and death. . . this unflinching memoir should appeal to those coming to terms with their own grief or mental illness.”
In 2020 I received a commission from the National Library of Scotland as part of Fresh Ink: New Writers Respond to 2020. “Treading Water” records the summer of 2020 as I experienced it at home in Orkney. I live at the end of a potholed track, next to a loch, and in many ways I have been moated, protected by water, throughout the pandemic. This piece attempts to wring some understanding out of the unsteady mix of security and precariousness I was feeling, by attending carefully to the shifting beauty of water, while still alert to the monstrous suffering being caused by COVID and the even bigger threat posed by climate change. It’s a meditation on time, loss, death and evanescent beauty.
or watch the short video extract with a film I made for the launch event below
THE CURATOR’S ROOM
In 2014 I received Scottish Arts Council Funding to make new work in response to Edinburgh University’s Natural History Collections. I wrote a blog, and took lots of photographs, and the final outcome was a photo-essay “The Curators’ Room” published at Terrain.org.