The Optimist

Clare Woods


About the edition

Clare Woods is well known for large scale, vibrant paintings that suggest veiled narratives of intense anxiety, trauma or foreboding. Beginning with a source image or narrative, Woods deconstructs her subject matter and then re-builds the imagery using loose and expressive brush strokes of intense colour. The resulting works offer us layers of partial revelations; shifting our focus between the luminosity of the colour and the underlying darker subject matter.

The source material used for my paintings acts as a catalyst to bring the unconscious or hidden to the surface. The unseen internal anxiety is transformed through the painting process into something I can deal with; it has a form and a presence. Clare Woods

While on a research visit to Dundee in preparation for her DCA exhibition Victim of Geography, Clare Woods came across an image of Captain Robert Falcon Scott in the archives of the RSS Discovery; the famed ship that took Scott and his team on the exploratory voyages of uncharted Antarctica. The early photograph captures Scott in a moment of anticipation prior to the expedition - in an instant when he had no knowledge of the hardship and extreme isolation that he and his team were to endure.

Using this source image Woods created a lithograph, more intimate in scale than her paintings and with tonal qualities that vary in each print. Her interest in physical and psychological layers is evident through her chosen methods: using dilute tusche washes in tonal areas onto the limestone matrix she created an effect reminiscent of posterisation. Through this surface’s acceptance and rejection of the ink after processing, an image emerges and returns our gaze – a partial portrait of a hooded Captain Scott. 

Year 2017
Edition of 15
Media Stone lithograph on Somerset Satin 300gsm paper
Dimensions 37 x 37cm
Signature Signed and numbered by artist on lower recto

About Clare Woods

Clare Woods lives and works on the Welsh border. Her work is held in many major international collections including the Arts Council England Collection, the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, USA. Recent exhibitions include Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, Oriel Davies Gallery in Wales, National Museum of Wales, Buchmann Galerie in Berlin, and a permanent public commission for the London 2012 Olympic Park. She is represented by Simon Lee Gallery, London.

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