Night Gallery is thrilled to announce After Limbo, an exhibition of paintings by Clare Woods. This is the artist’s first solo presentation in Los Angeles, and follows her participation in Night Gallery’s group show Shrubs in January 2022.
The works in After Limbo originate in the early phases of the 2020 lockdown in the UK. As the outside grew less recognizable, Woods’ experience of her own home shifted and catalyzed a reseeing of the objects inside of it: vases, teacups, and rugs seemed to mirror the strangeness of the world at large. The works on view are anchored by this collapse of recognition. Each painting is graphically intelligible from afar, but their structure breaks down at a closer vantage. Woods’ practice has long been concerned with vulnerability and fragility, and After Limbo captures how these themes manifest in the odd silence of the domestic space.
The artist’s distinctive style is informed by her background in sculpture; large, gestural brushstrokes are used to sculpt objects within the pictorial plane. Woods’ still life and figurative paintings are unmistakably rooted in real space and time, but abstracted by bold, fluid marks upon the aluminum surface. It is through the materiality of paint that Woods achieves a simultaneous de/re construction of form, obscuring that which seems immediately discernible.
Woods approaches the still life as a uniquely powerful index of physical precrarity, wherein flowers and the human body exist in similar condition of concurrent life and slow death. In the panoramic, eponymous After Limbo, a multicolored bouquet bursts from a near-voided backdrop, proliferating across three panels and evincing the objective beauty of the motif. But petals have fallen—or are falling in midair—and stems are beginning to wilt, magnifying the close proximity between vitality and decay. Elsewhere, Maybe in Another World evokes a distant reality that was predictable, constant. Unmoored from the illusion of stability, the only constant is the sky.
Across her newest body of work, the artist asks if there is any true solace to be found in the familiar. Are we engaged in a “return” to the routine, the unchallenging? Or are we living in the same state we always have, where the boundary between sickness and health is inherently shaky? We look through the window for answers.
Clare Woods (b. 1972, Southampton, UK) has presented solo shows in 2020-2021 at Simon Lee Gallery, London; Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen; Cristea Roberts Gallery, London; and Buchmann Galerie, Berlin. In March 2022, Woods will mount a solo exhibition at The Serlachius Museums, Mänttä. She has had recent institutional solo exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester; Mead Gallery, University of Worcester, UK; Dundee Contemporary Art, UK; Harewood House, Yorkshire; Southampton City Art Gallery, UK; Hepworth Wakefield, UK, and group exhibitions include Fernweh Space, Beijing; National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Tate St. Ives, UK; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. A monograph on Woods entitled Strange Meetings was published in 2016 by Art / Books, London, and her work has been featured in Front Runner Magazine, Studio International, the Art Newspaper, Frieze Magazine, Independent, and Financial Times Magazine. Her work belongs in permanent collections of The Hepworth Wakefield, UK; National Museum, Cardiff; and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, among many others. Woods lives and works in Hereford, UK.