Clare Woods, The Unquiet Head - The Hepworth Wakefield

Clare Woods: The Unquiet Head
The Hepworth Wakefield
22 October 2011 - 29 January 2012

The Hepworth presents a new group of paintings by Clare Woods in The Unquiet Head. Woods explores the tangible nature of rock formations in a rather psychological manner. She paints in response to their dark and uncontrolled nature, and this is not only manifested in the application of her chosen medium, but the scale in which she has created the work.

The dynamic use of enamel paint and the choice of colour placement is a far cry from the picturesque representations we usually associate with typical landscape portrayals. She doesn’t shy away from abstraction. The shape and form of the rocks is obvious, it is simply the ambiguous use of colour which does not necessarily baffle, but leads into confusion the more we focus on the image.

The size of the work also contributes to this element. From the back of the gallery you grasp the size of each painting, measuring approximately 10m in length, each consuming an entire wall. They fill the space easily, and the amalgamation of colour and shape can become claustrophobic the longer you spend looking at it.

The Unquiet Head is not simply an exhibition of a group of Woods paintings. The sheer scale and composition lends itself to something more abstract. The paintings display pieces of physical earth that make up our landscape: they seem to become physical themselves. Using synthetic colours to depict organic forms creates a fluent contrast and the assured use of medium allows Woods to articulate this imagery easily. The layers of enamel paint on an aluminium surface create a beautiful plane of colour and a luscious reflective surface.