Clare Woods
Deaf Man's House
6 September 2006 – 16 October 2006
Opening: Wednesday 6 September

Clare Woods is fascinated by the accumulated intensity of the past in many places in Britain. Her symbolic landscapes are humanised through palpable emotions and unseen presences enmeshed within them. They cast a dark hue on any conciliatory visions of nature, hinting at our struggle to control and tame it. In her work Woods uses the innate fear and awe we have of nature and our highly developed capacity to project our desires onto it.

Woods’ paintings have a hybrid quality comprising abstraction and figuration. They are derived from photographs she takes of rural folk traditions and supernaturally charged places. Her paintings are intimate, desolate and indeterminable, depicting complex and ambiguous spaces while foregrounding formal qualities that employ both control and chance.

For her exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, Woods’ has produced three large-scale paintings, nine feet high and between twenty four and thirty six feet long, using household gloss and oil paint on aluminium. These newly commissioned paintings fill the gallery walls so that the viewer becomes physically enveloped in the reflective surfaces of the works. Just as Woods’ visual language shifts between representation and abstraction, precision and accident, she is also interested in how her paintings might take on sculptural qualities when realised at this scale, so that viewers cannot perceive the surface of the work in one take.

Clare Woods lives and works in London.  She studied at Goldsmiths College, London and Bath College of Art. Selected Solo exhibitions include: La Galeria De Arta Pilar Parra, Madrid (2006), Modern Art, London (2004), Karen Lovegrove Gallery, Los Angeles (2004). Selected Group Exhibitions include: John Moores 24 (2006), Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Art Gallery, NY (2005), New British Painting, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2004)

Rob Tufnell, Director of Ancient & Modern and Chisenhale director Simon Wallis discuss Clare Woods' work with the artist.

Click here for information on a fully illustrated catalogue published by Köenig Books accompaning the exhibition.

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Clare Woods

ISBN 10: 3-86560-144-8
ISBN 13: 987-86560-144-5
Published by Koenig Books, London, 2006
Hardback, colour illustrations.
Texts by Barry Schwabsky, Simon Wallis

Camille Pissarro is supposed to have called Claude Monet “a decorator without being decorative.” Of Jackson Pollock one might say, conversely, that his work was decorative though he was not a decorator. In either case the painter’s genius, as it methodically or fitfully revealed itself, was bound up with a needful tension between these only fugitively if at all distinguishable qualities, decorativeness and decoration. For a certain kind of painting – all the more appealing for being rare – this tension is still at work today. If it presence in Clare Woods’ work were not already clear, her new, mural-sized paintings make this obvious, for the mural is the decorative format par excellence. Decoration has two meanings: A painting is called decorative if it is superficial, if it is ornamental, if it fills a space. But the other sense of the word, the one that applies to Monet, to Henri Matisse, to Pollock, is nearly the opposite; it refers to a painting that makes space – a space that is so real that one feels it even when no one is looking at it. Matisse spoke of an “an expansive force that gives life to things around it.”

For more information about the exhibition please click here

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  • Exhibition
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