Soft Knock is a solo exhibition at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London peresenting new works on paper by London-based artist Clare Woods. Woods utilises the genre of still life and the classical trope of memento mori to explore the vulnerability of life, its fragile boundaries and co-existing tensions.

In a departure from earlier work exploring the human body, Woods’ new collages and prints, from cut flowers to empty stoneware jugs, are seen alongside works depicting loaded skies. Hovering between figuration and abstraction, the works in Soft Knock present us with both the familiar and the uncanny, the gentle and the sinister.

Originally trained as a sculptor, Clare Woods established her reputation with large-scale landscape paintings rendered in enamel on aluminium. Later she added her iconic flower portraits. All in all and for over 15 years now, Woods’ painting practice has been a continuous exploration of physical form through the materiality of paint.

Based on photographic source images, her immersive paintings of diverse scale have more recently moved into figurative works rendered in rich hues of oil paint.

With an acute understanding of sculptural language, Woods’ interpretations shift between figuration and abstraction imbuing this central tension with volume, weight and interior mystery.

An intuitive exploration of mood, unseen presence and internal expressions are made tangible through the painting process. Metamorphic psychologic states, extremes of feeling and endurance are communicated through painted forms transcending natural appearance.

In looking outwards, expressing strangeness of objects and parts of the body heightened by the sculptural energy, luscious transformative colour and vigour of the applied paint, Woods is also turning inwards within this act of psychically charged defamiliarisation. Rich meditations on the particulars of colour, intentionally ambiguous semi-organic shapes often hover between abstraction and representation with a flowing, fluid energy.

Soft Knock
Clare Woods
Cristea Roberts Gallery London