PATRON is proud to present our first solo exhibition with New York based artist Claire Sherman. The exhibition titled, Proximity, will open to the public on Saturday, July 17 and will continue through August 28, 2021.
“I hope to propel the viewer into a claustrophobic and unstable world through a perspective that shimmies between representation and abstraction.”
Although one might recognize representations of fertile forests and foreboding caves in the work of Claire Sherman, her paintings are not “about” landscape per se. With her frenetic brushstrokes and masterful construction of synthetic luminescence on the canvas, the work aims to unearth the ways in which mark-making creates context within painting. As the artist describes, “images beckon entry and paint is used to seduce.” These paintings hinge on a seductive entropy that elicits an intimate, direct experience: one that exists within the specificity of the composition. Sherman aptly explains, “the paintings become their own locations.”
For Proximity, her first solo at PATRON, Sherman presents nine oil on canvas paintings created over the past five years. Her process of making these works in her studio is contingent on intense stints of production often over the course of a day. Prior to these hyper-focused moments of painting, she produces watercolor studies to map out their individual compositions. The paintings present a tension between a fast brushstroke and the slow reading of the depth of the finished work. Her approach to perspective within these recent pieces draws on a play of interiority versus exteriority (perhaps the moment right before things fall apart). For instance, Holes (2017) depicts the vantage point of looking downward at shadowy hollows on the forest floor, and Cave (2018) frames the view emerging into the light from within a watery cavern. They imbue a psychological anticipation of movement and nod to cinematic conventions, as if we are witnessing a moment in a narrative that foreshadows another. The scale of the paintings in relation to the viewer’s body adds to their visceral character
Vines (2021) and Wildflowers and Grass (2021) suggestively render the marks of an intervening, perhaps human, presence within these lush terrains. Vines appears to present the viewpoint of gazing upward through a dense and vibrant forest canopy; a perspective that functions as an inversion of Holes but begins to collapse into abstraction more so than the latter piece. The viewer is looking outward from perhaps inside of a hole in the forest floor, while vines whip through the assumptions of what appears to be the foreground, middle ground and background. More discernable in perspective, Wildflowers and Grass depicts a mysterious clearing on the forest floor, dotted with the flora that grows after a fire. These works capture an emotive space of uncertainty, as the artist elucidates, “a stifling emptiness pervades each unraveling environment.” Paradoxically, it’s an emptiness ripe with dense vastness as described by the richness of her mark-making on the canvas. Within this vein, Sherman’s work edges towards notions of the terrifying pleasure and unfathomable magnitude of the experience of the sublime.