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From the Studio: Claire Sherman

From Claire Sherman:

I’ve been naturally socially distant since late November when my daughter Iris was born, so in many ways this time is an extension of the last four months for us at home. As difficult as this is to navigate, we are trying to see some silver linings in all of it, and I’m very grateful for this time at home as a family together. I’m lucky to live above my studio, so I’ve been able to keep working and have been slowly emerging from sleepless nights with our new baby to try to make sense of the world and get back into my studio. 

My last show at DC Moore was exactly a year ago, and it is strange how different the world is. The body of work I presented at that time referenced a new state in our environment caused by globalism and increases in global trade and travel. The show borrowed its title, New Pangaea, from Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, The Sixth Extinction. This current mode implied by New Pangaea, one in which human intervention creates a new supercontinent, is one in which invasive species and plants are forced into a new existence together. The dense, tangled, and undulating forms of spaces and plants in my recent bodies of work address some of these complicated new environments we are creating, full of both worry and hope – environments that are both strong and fragile. 

It is strange to reflect on my show from our current state – these ideas are of course now at the center of this difficult place where we find ourselves. I’ve returned to tangled forms as I make new work. Particularly in these fraught times, there is something about digging my way out of a chaotic space in a painting that helps. 

Most of my work relies on photographs that I take while hiking. I’m not traveling, so I’m revisiting environments that I spent time with last year, when I hiked throughout California during my second trimester. I’m particularly interested in the dense foliage and undergrowth that exists in coastal regions, and these forms are working their way into my current work.  

I was reminded of a wonderful German word recently: fernweh.  It roughly translates to “far-sickness,” the opposite of being homesick. Sounds about right.

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