Work by Claire Showalter in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum
November 1, 2018
Hello again, everyone. It’s time for a new show in our By Others gallery at the Board & Vellum office! This time, we are featuring work from artist Claire Showalter.
The show will run from November to January, but on November 8th, from 6 to 9 PM, we will host an opening with the artist, and we’d love it if you joined us!
So, what is the show about? Here is a quick Q&A with the artist.
Hayley: Is there an underlying story behind your work, or a thread that you pull through this show?
Claire: This show is really meant to illustrate the ideas of experience and study. I tend to work at a small scale, partly due to a desire to think through several aspects of the same experience, or to consider the memory of a place utilizing similar, but different, approaches. All of these works are watercolors based on my experiences in the natural environment of Washington. However, they each think about lines, colors, methods, or the landscape itself in unique ways. I try not to restrict myself to a singular aesthetic approach, but might study the exact same moment with several different, yet related aesthetics to learn what truly touches on my experience. Here, artistic expression is meant to be represented as the process of study.
Hayley: What medium/media do you work in? Why?
Claire: I generally work in pencil and watercolor. My artwork came about as I was playing around with materials I already had on hand from various architectural drawing classes. I don’t have significant formal art training, so while I have dabbled with other painting mediums and art forms, I needed a method that was approachable and packs up well to take out into the wild. I find that my experience with watercolor is a great balance between an acute focus and control as I push pigment around, but also an exercise in letting things happen at the whim of the material, allowing the material and conditions to have influence on the end result. Lately, I’ve started playing with the richness of ink and eying my old oil pastels and palette knives as other ways to experiment with color saturation and bringing a texture and dimension to my studies. Next, I would love to learn more about ceramics, not just in a sculptural sense, but to study the process of glazing and perhaps find a way to work with it as it might relate to my watercolor studies.
Hayley: Where are you from? Does it influence your work?
Claire: I am from a small, fairly rural area of Southeastern Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Now that I think about it, I think this has informed my work in unexpected ways. When I first started exploring the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest, I was really driven to express my awe at their size and dramatic impact, standing in such contrast from the rolling hills and aged rock that I grew up experiencing. Concurrently, I still find a fascination in the layers and depth of a landscape, something that I learned to love in the older hills back home. I actually now hope to find ways to reflect the landscape of my home back east as I look at the familiar through a different lens.
Hayley: Does your work reach outward to communicate a message, or is it an expression of something internal?
Claire: I tend to view my work as an ongoing series of studies, rather than singular works that are the result of a particular focus. While I may express a similar experience or environment, I will study the strong edge line of a ridge in one instance, a monochromatic contrast in light conditions in another, and the effect of time and conditions on a sheet of paper in yet another piece. My work comes from memories and internal reflections, jotted down in the physical for examination or to capture a fleeting moment in a certain place.
Hayley: Awesome. Thank you for sharing with us, Claire. And, to everyone else, we hope to see you soon at By Others!