Saturday, May 26, 2012

Clare Doveton Paints Like a Poet Writes

Clare Doveton’s paintings present mists of first creation. The planet is newly formed, and uncertain solids emerge from banks of color. These are images of gestation. The future can be imagined from the shapes just emerging, but certitude dissolves. The artist suggests narrations with horizon lines and interrelationships, but the viewer must complete the stories. Because of the layers of possibilities, sequences of events change, and no viewing is the same. Her genius is to create the moment just before representation. Titles suggest the artist’s intention—“Birds,” “Blessed,” “Morning Fog,” “While You Were Sleeping,” “The Hill.”

 Doveton applies (mostly) oil-based pigments using washes, rubbings, impasto, scratches, and brushstrokes. The physicality of the final painting arises as an essential element to its viewing. These facts of paint and canvas, however, are unsettled by optical illusions—foregrounds shift to backgrounds. The painter’s presence remains, as though she will return and add one more brushstroke, which will change everything. These paintings bring viewers into the studio as the process continues.

 “While You Were Sleeping,” a small painting (8” by 8”) on canvas, suggests fieldrows, which could also be waves or terraces. Horizontal lines scratched midpoint hint at a sky. An overlay of white spotting could be snow or not—and references Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” very obliquely. The title frames the work as sleep time—but is it night, a cloudy day, or dawn? This is a meditative painting, but not one that is quiescent. The second day of creation was one of movement, not stasis. Doveton’s work challenges viewers to share her agitation.

 View her works online or or see upcoming exhibitions: INVISIBLE HAND GALLERY, July 2012; PACHAMAMAS, Sept. 2012; DIVER STUDIO, April 2013; LANDMARK NATIONAL BANK,  July, 2013. STRECKER-NELSON GALLERY represents her work: