Clare Woods: Victim of Geography

Dundee Contemporary Arts until September 10

WITH more and more artists working across media, it is quite refreshing to find an artist firmly wedded to one, not least when that medium is painting. For her first solo exhibition at DCA, and indeed her first solo show in Scotland, Clare Woods has created a series of powerful large scale paintings on aluminium panels, poised between the suggested and the figurative, balanced between giving out and withholding information.

Based in the Welsh borders, having studied sculpture at Bath before completing an MA in Fine Art (Painting) at Goldsmiths (1999), Woods has exhibited at DCA before in a group show, some 20 years ago. “I always thought the space would be an amazing space to show painting,” says Woods, from her studio in Herefordshire. “Over the years the gallery had slowly been adjusted to accommodate installation, video and multiple artists’ works, so I requested we stripped the space back to its original light open space.” It’s a remarkable change.

Woods’ earlier paintings were largely based on landscape photographs she had taken, and include large mural commissions for Hampstead Heath overground station. But in recent years she has turned to more human concerns, focusing in on imagery created in the horrors of war or of social degradation or moments of emotion. But her work is never explicit.

“My work has always had an edge of personal anxiety for the future or the unknown, whether that’s a personal situation, national or international,” says Woods. “Unease has reached a new level in the last few years and I think I am trying to work out through painting what it means to be human now in this moment in time.”