Background Manning Clark studied Printed Textiles at Middlesex, continuing her studies at the Royal College of Art in London where her paintings and drawings became the major influence on her design work. In 1983 she received an MA and a travelling scholarship, where she painted extensively in the landscapes of the southern Mediterranean, a subject which inspired a subsequent series of large paintings and textile designs.
While at the Royal College, Manning Clark co-founded the interdisciplinary design group “The Cloth” with colleagues Fraser Taylor, Brian Bolger and David Band. The Cloth specialized in strong, painterly textile designs as well as group and solo painting exhibitions. The group designed textile collections for clients such as Paul Smith, Betty Jackson, Yves Saint Laurant, Calvin Kline and Nicole Miller, selling work and exhibited extensively in New York, Japan, Paris, London and Italy. They produced their own clothing collections which sold in major stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods and Liberty of London, and across Europe, America and Japan. Textiles designed by The Cloth were also acquired by the V&A in London to add to their permanent collection, and more recently many pieces have been acquired by Glasgow School of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago in the USA for their archives.
Manning Clark continued painting in her Bermondsey studio until 1995 having two major solo exhibitions at L’Escargot, London and producing images for Glynebourne Festival Opera, Levis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Island Records amongst others. In 2000, Manning Clark started experimenting with printmaking techniques, producing monoprints and etchings at the Artichoke Print Studios, London. This has developed into the large scale, painterly work that has been exhibited Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions (and shown on the BBC Culture Show in 2010), the Southbank Gallery and at the Affordable Art Fairs in London since 2006. She was an invited artist to the Mall Galleries exhibitions and in 2015 was selected by Ian Davenport for the Griffin Gallery Exhibition, London. Helen’s work is held in many private collections around the world.
In 2014, Helen’s printed textiles were exhibited, along with her colleagues at The Cloth, at the widely acclaimed and influential “From Club to Catwalk” exhibition at the V&A in London. In the same year, Helen returned to New York and with a subsequent visit to Chicago, has been working on a series of large scale pieces inspired by her visits.
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