Simon Lee Gallery presents Between These Words, an exhibition of new works by Clare Woods. For the artist’s second solo show in Hong Kong and sixth exhibition with the gallery, Woods presents a series of paintings that explore the polarity of opposites and embrace desire as the ultimate space of the expression of the human condition.
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The artist’s background in sculpture has enabled large, gestural brushstrokes to sculpt objects in paint. Woods’ still life and figurative paintings are unmistakably rooted in real space and time but abstracted in their simultaneous deconstruction and reconstruction of form by obscuring a clear view of what is presented by defamiliarising and estranging it through emotive mark making.
Woods’ varied subject matter creates a disparate connection between the paintings, enhanced by her grounding of the work in the polarity of opposites. Her images have been increasingly preoccupied with conveying the human form and perhaps this is why the figure is omnipresent in these paintings. In her work the artist blurs the lines of representation through both technique and metaphorical subjects which she compounds in the ambiguity of her titles.
Woods’ approach to still life is exemplified in Silent Breakdown as she parallels the uniquely powerful motif between the human body and flowers, through their similar condition of concurrent life and slow death. Petals have fallen and stems are beginning to wilt, magnifying the close proximity between vitality and decay and questioning if there is any true comfort to be found in the familiar and is the only illusion of a constant stability the sky?
Between These Words is an exhibition about the human condition and what we are capable of. Much of Woods’ recent practice is concerned with fragility and vulnerability as the artist asks us to look between imagery and representation in search for hidden notions beneath the ambiguous surface.
Installation view, Clare Woods, Between These Words at Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong. Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery. Photo: Tai Ngai Lung