Clare Woods

Strange Meetings

Foreword by Andrew Marr
Texts by Michael Bracewell, Rebecca Daniels, Jennifer Higgie and Simon Martin

Clare Woods is internationally regarded as one of the most significant painters working today. Her paintings and works on paper are found in important public and private collections around the world, and she has produced many high-profile public commissions in the UK and Europe. Her highly colouristic paintings hover somewhere between abstraction and representation, expressing both a poetic romanticism and an unnerving psychic charge.

Published to coincide with the show ‘The Sleepers’ at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, and ahead of a series of important exhibitions and commissions, this beautifully designed and illustrated volume is the first monograph on Woods’ art. It presents all the major works from her career to date, from small-scale intimate paintings in oil and enamel to ambitious high-profile public commissions and architectural projects. The dynamic layout of the book, with a varied mix of close-up details and installation shots, gives the reader a strong sense of the diverse scale and immersive, push-pull nature of the work. Five prominent writers consider various aspects of Woods’ practice, including her painting technique and use of photographic source material; her engagement with the traditions of landscape and figurative art; her relationship with artistic forebears such as Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland and Eduardo Paolozzi; and the connections between her life and ever-evolving work.

More than a celebration of Woods’ achievements as an artist, this book is also testament to her importance to the future of painting. In his foreword, Andrew Marr asks what should a painting look like in 2016, when ‘so much has already been done by so many extraordinary hands, fingers and brains’? ‘In these pages’, he concludes ‘you will find some answers.’

Clare Woods completed her MA at Goldsmith’s College, London in 1999, following a BA at Bath School of Art in 1994. Recent solo shows include a touring exhibition organized by Oriel Davies Gallery, Powys, Wales (2014–16); Martin Asbaek Gallery, Copenhagen (2015); Rebecca Chami Gallery, Athens (2014); Buchmann Galerie, Berlin (2014); New Art Centre, Salisbury (2013); Harewood House, Leeds (2013); Southampton City Art Gallery (2012); and The Hepworth Wakefield (2011). In 2012, she was commissioned to create a permanent ceramic mural for the London 2012 Olympic Park, and in 2015 she produced a 15 x 8 metre painting for Aarhus VIA University College, Denmark. Other public commissions include a vast facade for a residential building in Chelsea, London (2005–7); a permanent ceramic mural at Hampstead Heath Station (2010–11); and a large-scale painting for The Hive library, Worcester (2012). Her work is included in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Arts Council Collection; British Council; CCA Andratx, Mallorca, Spain; Government Art Collection; National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Southampton City Art Gallery; and Tullie House Gallery, Carlisle. She is represented by Buchmann Galerie, Berlin and Lugano, and Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen.

Michael Bracewell writes widely on modern and contemporary art and is a contributor to frieze, The Burlington and Parkett magazines. His recent publications include Richard Hamilton: Late Works (2012); Lucy McKenzie (2013); Damien Hirst: The Complete Psalm Paintings (2014); and Kai Althoff (2015). His selected writings on art, The Space Between, were published in 2012.

Rebecca Daniels is the art-historical researcher on the forthcoming Francis Bacon catalogue raisonné. She completed a doctorate on Walter Sickert at the University of Oxford, and while there catalogued the furniture collection in the Ashmolean Museum. She has published extensively on Sickert and Bacon and recently on Henri Matisse. She is a trustee of the Sidney Nolan Trust.

Jennifer Higgie is a writer living in London. She is co-editor of frieze and editor of frieze masters magazine. She has edited and contributed to many books on contemporary art, and her novel Bedlam, which she has recently adapted for the screen, was published in 2006.

Simon Martin is a writer, curator and art historian. He is the Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, where he has curated many exhibitions of modern British and contemporary art. His publications include numerous catalogues and artist monographs, as well as Poets in the Landscape: The Romantic Spirit in British Art (2007) and Conflict and Conscience: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War (2014). He is a trustee of the Charleston Trust and HOUSE Festival, and a member of the Churches Conservation Trust Arts Advisory Panel and the Chichester Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee.

Andrew Marr is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist and writer. After an extensive career in print journalism, he became the BBC’s political editor in 2000, a position he held for five years. He has written and presented several acclaimed television and radio series for the BBC. His many books include The Battle for Scotland (1992); Ruling Britannia (1996); The Day Britain Died (2000); A History of Modern Britain (2007); The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People (2011); and A History of the World (2012).