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.