After Limbo at Night Gallery, LA, 2nd April 2022

After Limbo is Clare Woods first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, and follows her participation in Night Gallery’s group show Shrubs in January 2022.  The exhibition opens at Night Gallery on 2nd April 2022 and runs until 7th May 2022. 

The works in After Limbo originate in the early phases of the 2020 lockdown in the UK. As the outside grew less recognizable, Woods’ experience of her own home shifted and catalyzed a reseeing of the objects inside of it: vases, teacups, and rugs seemed to mirror the strangeness of the world at large. The works on view are anchored by this collapse of recognition. Each painting is graphically intelligible from afar, but their structure breaks down at a closer vantage. Woods’ practice has long been concerned with vulnerability and fragility, and After Limbo captures how these themes manifest in the odd silence of the domestic space. 

The artist’s distinctive style is informed by her background in sculpture; large, gestural brushstrokes are used to sculpt objects within the pictorial plane. Woods’ still life and figurative paintings are unmistakably rooted in real space and time, but abstracted by bold, fluid marks upon the aluminum surface. It is through the materiality of paint that Woods achieves a simultaneous de/re construction of form, obscuring that which seems immediately discernible. 

Woods approaches the still life as a uniquely powerful index of physical precrarity, wherein flowers and the human body exist in similar condition of concurrent life and slow death. In the panoramic, eponymous After Limbo, a multicolored bouquet bursts from a near-voided backdrop, proliferating across three panels and evincing the objective beauty of the motif. But petals have fallen—or are falling in midair—and stems are beginning to wilt, magnifying the close proximity between vitality and decay. Elsewhere, Maybe in Another World evokes a distant reality that was predictable, constant. Unmoored from the illusion of stability, the only constant is the sky.

Across her newest body of work, the artist asks if there is any true solace to be found in the familiar. Are we engaged in a “return” to the routine, the unchallenging? Or are we living in the same state we always have, where the boundary between sickness and health is inherently shaky? We look through the window for answers.

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