THE INTERVIEW IN|DEEDS: Clare Woods

Prologue

Clare, let’s imagine that we are meeting in person. As if we would speak together in your studio. Please describe it briefly. It’s industrial, expansive, neat. Maybe we are sitting at your favorite place? In the office – on a long and uncomfortable sofa on the first floor over looking the main studio. We’d like to get to know you as a person a little closer. Where do you come from? I was born 1972 in Southampton, UK. Where do you currently live and work? In Hereford, UK. Which authors and books can be found on your bookshelf, which books have influenced you and what are you currently reading? George Orwell, Viktor Frankl, Darian Leader. George Orwell 1984 and Seeing Things The Way They Are are big influences, I am currently reading Funny Weather by Olivia Laing and have the Virginia Woolf and Lee Krasner biographies lined up next. What music do you listen to and when? I need silence to work, so I wear noise cancelling head phones when I am in the studio. If you would cook something for us, what would it be? What do you like to eat most and what do you think about breakfast? – Eggs – And I love brunch. It’s my favourite time to eat. What kind of sport or counterbalance do you practice? Walking and watching cricket.

DEEDS - Interview artist Clare Woods - Courtesy by Clare Woods

Clare Woods

Interview

To begin, please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.
I paint, always from a source photograph, always oil on aluminium. I draw a lot to inform the paintings and I make collage as a by product of the left over paint.  This is a much slower and more broken way of developing imagery and in turns re informs the painting.

Two sentences about your current project / the upcoming exhibition at Gallery Weekend.

If Not Now Then When is a solo exhibition of paintings made during lockdown.

What are you most concerned about currently; what is on your mind?
The future, I feel very concerned about the future.

DEEDS - Clare Woods 1 - Waiting for a miracle

Clare Woods, Waiting for a Miracle

How did you come to art? Why art?
I had no choice it chose me.

What makes you happy at this moment? What is currently scaring you?
I am scared by how quickly life changes at the moment and how the odd feels normal but I am very happy to retreat to my studio where I have almost full control on my environment.

Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can do?
I am not sure responsibility is the correct way of thinking about it, I think it can offer another way of seeing, processing and understanding the world around us.

What makes your art special? What are the central themes of your work?
I am not sure my art is special but I don’t think anyone else could make it exactly the same with exactly the same concept and intentions, I guess that is what makes everyones work unique to them even if visually there are connections to other artists.
All of my paintings are based on photographs, sometimes my own sometimes found imagery. The cropping and editing of the original photograph through drawing removes some of the form so that they begin to sit on the edge of legibility and figuration. I conceptually empty the source image but then replace with a new interpretation during the act of painting. This physical break down of the image allows a slowing down and falling apart of the visual partly forcing the viewer to question their ability to decipher the content of what is in front of them and partly questioning what it means to live in a time of mass image consumption and in a world that treats banality and disaster in the same way.

DEEDS - Clare Woods 1 - Artist Studio

Artist Studio Clare Woods

How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?
These times although difficult for many reasons have been incredible for the work and informing the painting. I would never try to protect myself from inspiration.

How much in your works is planned in advance – how much is created intuitively?
The source image and the original drawing is all very planned and drawn and drawn again and thought about in depth but when the painting happens it is just the physical act of applying paint to the surface with no pre conceived plan or thought process.

What should your art effect on the viewer?
I would be happy if one painting of mine made the viewer stop and look for slightly longer than they would look at a digital image on their phone.

What are your (next) goals?
I have been trying to paint smaller as I fined working large much less challenging than small, this is something I will continue with.

Which project would you still like to realize, if lack of time, courage or financial resources would not play a role?
I think the dream projects are for me always to do with being offered the opportunity, I would love to work and show work in Venice.

DEEDS - Clare Woods 1 - Courtesy by Clare Woods

Artist Studio Clare Woods

What do you consider to be attributes of good art?
Something that makes you stop.

Is one born as an artist? Or is studying art compulsory in your view?
I think maybe one is born an artist, its a way of seeing and thinking that can’t be taught but obviously studying confirms and strengthens this.

To whom do you show a new work first?
Nathalie and Instagram.

DEEDS - Clare Woods 1 - Studio View

Artist Studio Clare Woods

What does the first hour of your day look like?
I like to get up early and go straight to the studio, doing nothing at home until the evening. I go to the office and I type up all the noise in my head, the to do lists, worries, thoughts etc first thing on an old typewriter using pale green paper. I check the UK death rates and infection rate from Covid as well and I keep an on going daily list. I then check my email, instagram and time hop. Then I make a cup of tea and sit and  I look at what I did yesterday. I then brush the studio floor and do a few laps of the studio planning my day in my head. Then I start work.

In Times of the internet of things, are galleries – from your point of view – still necessary? If so, why and what for?
People want authenticity more so than ever now and the gallery and museum will play an important role is giving access to the real.

DEEDS - Clare Woods 2 - Studio View

Artist Studio Clare Woods

Social media – in your view a blessing or a curse?
For me I love looking at instagrame, I love photos so it is perfect to just look, I totally understand why it has a negative affect for some people but I just love looking at photos and this is the perfect way. I am not even worried who’s photos they are its purely the image I am looking at, not how many likes they have had or who is following them, I am not worried about this. I like the way I can also put things out there, I am interested by the response say if I put an image of clouds and it is received which is so very different way to an image of a painting is received.

Epilogue

The exhibition IF NOT NOW THEN WHEN with new works by Clare Woods can be seen from 9 September to 31 October 2020 at Buchmann Galerie, Charlottenstraße 13, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg. The opening will take place on 11 September 2020, 10:00 a.m.

Instagram: @clarewoodsstudio


In Zeiten von Corona, in denen Reisen, Atelierbesuche und persönliche Kontakte unangebracht oder sogar unmöglich sind, bleibt das schriftliche Interview ein wichtiges Medium, um Künstlerpersönlichkeiten vorzustellen, um ihre Botschaften zu verbreiten und um mit Kunstliebhabern in Kontakt zu bleiben. Die Interviews werden von der Redaktion nicht redigiert oder gekürzt und stets im O-Ton wiedergegeben. Daher nehmen wir auch keine Übersetzung des Interviews in Englische bzw. Deutsche vor, es sei den, diese wird seitens des/der Interviewten eingereicht.

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