Parra & Romero

Clare Woods

26 Mar - 23 May 2009

© Clare Woods
Cemetery Bends, 2009
Enamel on aluminium
366 x 259 cm (in three panels each 122 x 259 cm)
Cemetery Bends

26.03.2009 – 23.05.2009

Pilar Parra & Romero is pleased to present Cemetery Bends, Clare Woods second solo show in Spain. In this exhibition her work can be seen as a form of messenger. Where suburbia ends, Woods sends us scenes of depopulated spaces: overgrown paths, abandoned dirt tracks and mud markers at low tide.

For the artist however, her re-readings of the British landscape do not only concern desolation. The almost fluorescent use of colour that Woods chooses to illustrate a traditionally dark subject matter suggests celebration. Woods describes a duality in these locations that suggest a place “where someone might be conceived and, as likely... might expire.” It is this sense of the contested in these paintings that draw us into the works.

The British landscape once spoke of the mythic and Romantic. Clare Woods paints us an alternative view of this history that is both subtle and powerful. The experience of viewing the horizon-like panels become sculptural - in the sense that we struggle to absorb their surfaces in a gaze. Their content however, is narrated with simplicity, as Woods captures a culture in transition merely by speaking through landscape.

The language Woods employs in the work shifts between representation and abstraction, between precision and accident, and image versus the physical nature of the paintings as sculpture. The viewer cannot read the surface in one take, instead they are forced to move in order to see the work fully and, as if looking at a polished bronze, they are drawn into a surface that reflects them and others around them.

All of the works are based on a series of collaged photographs that have been taken in the British landscape. Woods finds this arena emotive and inspirational and uses paint in formally inventive and arresting ways to take the viewer through places that are loaded, seductive and haunting. She continues a long tradition that explores our condition as people who are now largely urbanised and yet increasingly fascinated and affected by representations of landscape.

Clare Woods (b.1972) lives and works in London and Herefordshire. She studied at Bath College of Art (1991-94) and Goldsmith’s College (1997-99). She has exhibited in the UK, Europe and America, and solo shows include “New Paintings” at Southampton City Art Gallery (1997), Modern Art, London (2000, 2004 & 2008), and “Deaf Man’s House” at Chisenhale Gallery, London (2006). She has work in major public and private collections around the world including Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; the British Council, London; Honart Museum, Teheran; Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen; and has just completed a painting for the Arts Council Collection.

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