Through his large paintings, Clark Richert speculates about the nature of reality. He is inspired by Mark Rothko’s use of color and Buckminster Fuller’s theories regarding the structure of the universe.
"As an artist, I operate on a premise that I need not be bound by the scientist's responsibility of proof; my responsibility is to freely interpret. That viewers fully understand all the subject matter in my work is not as important to me as their having a sense of the basic content: that these paintings are postulations about large things."
By 1970 Clark was observing shadows cast by three-dimensional forms, and found that one such structure – the rhombic tricontahedron – placed under sunlight casts a shadow in the form of a two dimensional pattern made from tiling a pair of differently shaped diamonds. He noted that this pattern tiled across a plane never repeated itself.
The resulting aperiodic tessellation included a number of shapes that exhibited five-fold symmetry; these forms could be perfectly superimposed upon themselves by rotating on a center point in five equal increments. This discovery broke with the long held rule that five-fold symmetry was strictly impossible for any two dimensional packing of shapes.
This so-called forbidden symmetry became the main subject for many of his works.
Clark’s relationship to five-fold symmetry and non-repeating tessellations has not dimmed since his initial investigations; and he continues to search further for new patterns. While based on mathematical discovery, his art can also be appreciated without a background in theoretical mathematics. As he observes, “all humans are imbued with the powerful ability of pattern recognition” In this way his art offers a point of entrée to even the most casual viewers, who will find in his work surprising optical experiences.