5 September–17 October 2015
Opening: Saturday 5 September, 5–7pm
Galerie Fons Welters
1016 LJ Amsterdam
T +31 20 423 30 46
Claire Harvey is known for painting figures from photographs, photographing painted figures in-situ, painting figures on glass, acetate, post-it notes, Scotch tape, and directly on the gallery wall, while incorporating every last fixture and edge of material in a prismatic interplay between image and object. Her layers of sculpture, photography, acetate, oils, and site specific installations are collages of material that the figure both pins to the surface and, like an intricate key, unlocks a landscape beyond their literal, physical firmament. Rather than forcing us to flip flop between looking with the left and right brain, Harvey’s artful compositions elegantly balance the real and illusory, evoking a curious quality throughout her work, the simultaneous suspension of disbelief and belief.
The By the Way postcards that greet the visitor provide a perfect introduction to the layers of surface, image and object in Harvey’s work. The views from planes, trains, and buildings provide a makeshift easel in which a figure, pre-painted on acetate, is inserted into the scene. We travel with unnatural ease through the regulated material of the postcard, passed the surface of the picture plane, through the camera’s lens, the figure’s acetate, and out the window frame. It is only by adopting the figure along the way, and transposing our perspective can we transform the photograph into something more akin to a painting. As we collapse every surface back into the ink and coated pulp of the postcard, the figure remains, unfolding an entirely new re-imagined dream-like space.
Sticky water, on the far side of the main gallery, presents us with a constellation of figures, painted on small strips of Scotch tape, stuck and spread across much of the wall. Given the title, one can’t help but think of raindrops as their sheen catches the light when entering the space, yet, upon closer inspection, every character is painted as if half submerged in water and placed as if receding into the distance. Beyond the surface of the wall, beyond even the white void through which they wade, these isolated figures create an entirely imaginary perspective plane into which they collectively navigate, as if drawn by a current towards an unknown vanishing point. Whatever your views on the world’s future with water, Harvey has created a wonderfully inviting metaphor for a multitude of interpretations, a great yet weightless Ark for individuals and ideologies alike.Continue Reading..