What I Do, Know and am Thinking About: Clare Price
What I do
I’m a painter. I mainly create large-scale abstract works that are becoming more performative traces of the movements made by the body interacting with the materials in the studio. I see the paintings as portals or a space of refuge, a frame that can open up into a universe in the making. In the best paintings I have encountered by others, the affect that is imbued in the making of a work is felt in a bodily and visceral way when standing in front of it . I have also begun to take photographs situating my body in relation to the paintings. This is emerging as a really important element of my work for complex personal, political and conceptual reasons.
I am obsessed by an idea Mark Leckey talked about when he taught me at Goldsmiths that ‘art comes through the body and the life experience’. Ultimately, it made me want to situate this female body with all its experience in the practice. As well as this being visible in the work - where my experience is channelled and distilled – and my body’s interaction with the materials in works in some alchemical way where the paintings tell me things about myself that I did not tell them to say, like some kind of trippy feedback loop.
Recently, I have been playing with my identity or ‘performing the self’ trying to take back power within patriarchal structures by owning it, teasing it, camping it up and, at times, using humour as a form of resistance. There are very personal reasons for the photographs, which are vulnerable and raw and have been a way of living through a period of great liberation and fragility: a response to not being controlled.
Sensuality and sexuality feature heavily in my work, a wildness and a boldness that I have felt able to express within the safe space of the studio and the frame of the canvas and I suppose in the past through being a little raver, but these are other stories of dancing and actually, in some ways of performance. The photographs are a means of un-containing what the paintings hold within them and explore the release of this self from the “bloc of sensation”, as Deleuze would call it, of the paintings stretcher into the photographs. Releasing them via Instagram touches upon ideas of cyber-feminism.
In recent photographs I am wrapping myself in paintings that are unpicked from their stretchers. In some ways the work and I are merging, which I think the people who know me well would agree, is happening both in the work and in life. I am also influenced by younger female artist friends and how they own and control their own image, their sexuality and their bodies in powerful ways online. Amalia Ulman and of course Leckey are particularly interesting to me in terms of self performance.
What I know
Quite a lot. I’ve been around for 46 years but then also, equally, nothing. When I am painting I channel both these things. Everything that I know and that I do not know is held in the paintings and in my body.
What I'm thinking about
The female gaze, the body, painting, sex and sensuality. I am thinking about people like Linda Stupart , Kathy Acker, Lynda Benglis, Pina Bausch, Joan Mitchell, Doris Lessing, Tracey Emin, the lives of these women as well as the work. Performance, dance, painting and all the paintings I want to make. All the photographs I want to take in relation to each work to reveal a snapshot of the hidden performance or the moments thereafter where I might wear traces of the paint used on my body and my hands.
I am thinking about magic, how the alchemy that occurs when painting between the body and time: how materials can turn trauma into beauty. How when outside of the safe space of the studio, paint might be used to protect. When I posted photographs of myself with a painted face on Instagram another artist said they were like “spells to protect me” and I am interested in exploring this idea further.
I am plotting and planning a show where I will work with the curator and writer Cairo Clarke and photographer Benjamin Whitley to further explore the paintings and the photographs together. We are looking for a space in London and imagining how it might manifest, particularly how the photographs might materialise in the gallery space when they are freed from their lo-fi making with an old iphone and remote shutter in the studio and their existence as Instagram posts with the associated hashtags.
Clare Price, January 2018
“Research has to go through a body; it has to be lived in some sense transformed into some sort of lived experience—in order to become whatever we might call art”
Main image: l.l.l.c.k. 153x178cm Oil and Acrylic on Canvas 2017
Below images: instagram posts @clareprice_ 2017