Silent Spring is the sixth solo exhibition by Clare Woods at Buchmann Galerie. Clare Woods’ oeuvre has its origins in landscape painting. In several phases over the past few years, she has unfolded a multi-layered oeuvre, which today deals in different series with portraits, still lifes or interiors and also repeatedly with landscape depictions. These are elements of the classical genre, which, before the storm of modernism, served to ensure continuity of style and self-assurance of the public’s taste. Clare Woods uses the genre to deliver a different, ambiguous experience: her subjects only entice with familiarity but subvert it aesthetically through the idiosyncratic method of pictorial conception and controlled gestural painting.
Seemingly familiar things, such as a bouquet of flowers or a mountain and a picture of clouds, gain a presence in Clare Woods’ work that is shaped more by a psychological state and emotional states than by a securing of taste.
Clare Woods develops her image motifs in elaborate preliminary studies based on her own photographs and image sources from books, the internet or press photos. These media originals go through several processing steps. The artist describes how she “visually empties” the motifs from her sources before they can finally be transformed into paintings.
Clare Woods paints her pictures with oil paint on aluminium, which withstands her painterly grip better than the commonly used canvas stretched on stretcher frames. In addition, Woods paints the works flat, using the structure as the pallet mixing the colours wet in a physical interaction that is more aline with making sculpture than painting.
Woods’ unmistakable painting style is characterised by lightness, speed and a rhythm with which she forms her gestural but always controlled brushstrokes into clusters that accumulate pictorial meaning in the overall composition. Clare Woods is able to give the negative space surrounding an object the same painterly meaning as the object itself.