Environmental artist Clark Rendall recently moved from New York to San Francisco opening up to new projects and inspirations. As a LEED certified environmental expert, Rendall still keeps his connection with the east coast by teaching an environmental design course for Parsons School of Design. His experiences from working at MoMA in New York and The Brooklyn Museum give him a unique perspective on how art can be presented and addressed in different environments. This is well reflected in his new series of paintings called Undisclosed Locations, where he combines his artistic ability with his environmental expertise to create striking aesthetics in a geometric minimal style.
Just before the release of his new series we jumped on a short Skype call to talk about the intersection of art and architecture, and what his take is on the influence they have on each other.
You worked at MoMA in New York, can you talk a bit about the time you spent there and how it influenced you?
Yes, prior to working at MoMA, I went through a pretty long period of time where I did not create any art, or I would never finish the things that I started. I guess I just wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do, and I was worried about not being original enough. When I started working at MoMA, I spent a lot of time in the galleries. I became interested in artists that were working in the more geometric and minimal side of abstract expressionism, and saw a lot of similarities between the work of different artists. I began to think about the sort of work that I liked, and why I liked it, and became less afraid of emulating some of the artists that I was interested in.
As a certified environmental designer you work closely with architects and interior designers, do you think art is a key influence on both professions?
I think that for residential design, art can play a very important role in personalizing a space. For more commercial and public projects, I think art has a lot to do with the idea of place-making. By selecting or commissioning a work of art, taking into consideration the location and cultural context, we can create spaces that are memorable, that serve as destinations that people return to.
You teach at Parsons School of Design, how do you view the intersection between environmental design and art installation?
I see environmental design as design that is done with an understanding that there is an interaction between the built environment and the natural environment. For my graduate thesis, I actually researched art features within the built environment that interact with sunlight, water, and wind. I'm very interested in opportunities for architects and designers to work together with artists to create spaces that remind people of our connection with natural systems and other living things.
Follow the link to view Rendall’s full new series of paintings Undisclosed Locations.