Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Dark Woods

Clare Woods is predominantly concerned with landscapes, but she doesn't bother with merry little hillocks and cows looking over a gate. Instead, she goes in for wild, uncultivated places with a hint of pagan menace. One of her modus operandi is to go out late at night to some lonely wood or desolate scrubland and take photographs, not really knowing what she is capturing. Having been out in a lonely wood at night, I'm sure it's an exhilarating, terrifying way to work. Certainly, the results are uniquely wild and sinister, and, I think, extremely beautiful.

Clare Woods strikes a pose.
Her work is the view from the undergrowth, looking up and through into the impenetrable heart of nature, the thorns and gnarled branches of a dark fairy tale forest. Many of her canvases are also extremely big, so that the microscopic and underfoot become part of a huge but claustrophobic panorama. Woods also gives her paintings fantastic titles, some derived from the names of long shut Victorian asylums, or just brilliantly descriptive, like 'Black Vomit' (see below) and 'Obscene Porridge'. I think she's great.

Black Vomit (2008).

Bleeding Cross (2008)
The Spectacle (2007)
The Bloody Kernel (2011).
Thunder House (2011).

'Carpenters Curve' was a work commissioned for the London Olympics (remember those?). The UK may not be as good as it was at promoting its phenomenal contribution to world art, but be was encouraged by this: it's a big, challenging abstract work by an exciting and original artist placed slap bang in front of a stadium visited by thousands and seen by billions.

My thanks to my friend and colleague Dolly Dolly for marking my card about Ms. Woods' work.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, what a find. I'm both frightened and a little turned on by her work, very erotic and sinister.