Clare Gill‘s paintings have an innocence about them, a fragility. a sensitivity you don’t wish to broach incase you’ll break their spell. The work, mainly on linen is soft and diffused, there is an innate warmth in the paintings, her palette muted, washed out, earthy, the brushwork intimate, creating seemingly incidental details, abstractions of everyday life.
Gill draws inspiration from the family, the local and the spiritual as well as samplers – which I only found today are pieces of embroidery produced as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework and often include the alphabet, figures, motifs, decorative borders – all of which add a layer of nostalgia to her compositions. Here is what she has to say about her work:
I think about the beliefs and stories that were handed down to me and I reinterpret them in my paintings. Family folklore, backyard rituals, religious sacraments, ghost stories, church, school, obedience and trust in what you’re told are among my subjects. The things we’re taught can be learned a thousand different ways. I like for the familiar to seem a little unfamiliar and complicated, because it is.
I look at images from the past as I work because they’re heartbreaking and haunting – what was never can be again. I mess with my imagery, layering and wearing it away until I’ve made a painting that makes you notice the paint as much as the pictures.