Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke
Visiting Lecturer: Liverpool John Moores University and University of Chester


Stephen Clarke is an artist, writer and lecturer based in the North West of England. He studied at Newport College of Art, South Wales (BA Fine Art, 1986) and Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton (MA Contemporary Art and Theory, 1996, and MA Fine Art Printmaking, 2004). He is currently a visiting lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Chester, and has previously taught the history of art and photography at universities in Winchester, Southampton and Bournemouth. His writing and practice encompasses collage and photography.


Summerisle Revisited: The Artist’s Cut
The printmaker David Ferry advocates the application of a ‘collage mentality’ to printmaking. Ferry’s visual re-scripting of the 1970s cult horror film ‘The Wicker Man’ is an example of this approach.  This paper contains a discussion of Ferry’s thirty-two-panel montage ‘May Day in the Centre of England’ that reworks the film’s stereotypes, locations, and iconography into two parts ‘Day’ and ‘Night’.

The paper is structured as a script for a film that follows a fictitious single day in the real location of the Sidney Nolan Trust on the Welsh border. Composed from several conversations between David Ferry and the writer Stephen Clarke the paper is itself a collage.

The dialogue examines how David Ferry has developed his project from sketchbook through to storyboard and how his version of the film relates to other overlapping interpretations. Ferry and Clarke discuss the fabrication of location and how we read a sense of place, and the exaggeration of the stereotype in the conflation of the village character with characters from pagan rituals. Ferry argues that the constructs of time, location and stereotypes provide the co-ordinates by which we can circumnavigate our surroundings. “I am very clear in my mind that those aspects of the self never leave you despite new adventures and experiences. They are the pertinent bottom of the structure and rather like veins coming up through a structure they can be readily tapped into.”

It is the acts of interpretation and re-interpretation that are at the centre of the ‘collage mentality’ which Ferry infuses into the process of printmaking by his tactics of layering, colliding, and the intrusion of the misplaced fragment.