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Anne Thompson: Trail Signs at the Clark Art
01:10PM / Monday, November 08, 2021
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Anne Thompson: Trail Signs, offers visitors to the Clark's campus a viewing experience that can be encountered along the walking paths that traverse the Clark's 140-acre site. 
 
On view through Dec. 31, 2021, the exhibition features a rotating installation of unique prints displayed on seven kiosks across the Clark's trail system. 
 
According to a press release, Anne Thompson has long explored the shifting meaning of signs and symbols in relation to their social setting, whether making paintings, prints, or outdoor projections. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began designing posters featuring bold, black-and-white symbols and installed them on trail kiosks throughout Berkshire County. Thompson's unsanctioned project sought to engage and complicate public messaging at a time when people increasingly ventured into, and sought meaning in, the outdoors. As striking as they are mysterious, her abstract forms suggest public wayfinding, but also digital iconography, modernist logotypes, or even ancient languages. In Trail Signs, Thompson continues this series at the Clark and on the adjacent town trails maintained by the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation.
 
Thompson uses wheat paste, a delicate, impermanent technique, to evoke the layered, worn, and torn textures of urban streetscapes in the Clark's natural setting. By mixing metaphors—organic and artificial, public and private, old and new, evocative and opaque.
 
She will document each of the prints on-site and produce an artist's book at the conclusion of the project, presenting it at the Clark during a talk in the spring.
 
"Anne's posters for the Clark combine graphic punch with strangeness and humor—you can almost place them, but they're also clearly out of place," said Robert Wiesenberger, associate curator of contemporary projects at the Clark. "We hope anyone who uses our trails to break the monotony of another long winter will encounter this brief but regularly changing project early and often."
 
Thompson uses the existing infrastructure of the Clark's trail kiosks for the installation, which will change every two weeks. The artist will affix new sets of posters onto the surfaces of the freestanding wood structures, creating a total of forty-eight unique prints over the course of the two-month project. 
 
The Clark's trails are continuously open and accessible to all visitors, with no admission. Trail guides are available at the outdoor kiosk sites.
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