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Our current Galley exhibition by internationally recognised artist Clare Woods is getting great reviews from our gallery visitors.

With an inspiring seminar discussion with Simon Wallis OBE (Director of The Hepworth Wakefield) all set for next week we talked to Clare to find out more about her work and the exhibition ‘Clean Heart: A Landscape Retrospective’.

Clare in studio

Clare Woods in her studio

Tell us about your current exhibition

The current exhibition at Hestercombe is a mini retrospective. I see it as a moment when I can look back at the work I have made over the last 17 years and look forward to the new works I want to make. It’s a moment of thought and reflection on how the last 17 years of working has informed the new works and the future of the practise. The earliest work in the show is from 1999 and the newest was finished about a week before the show opened and was still wet when we were trying to hang it.

How did you come up with the title?

‘Clean Heart and a Cheerful Spirit’ is the Portman family motto (Hestercombe used to be owned by the Portman family) It felt like the right title for the end of something and the start of something new.

You often create at large scale – how do you manage this?

I have a large studio that I share with my husband, Des Hughes who is a sculptor. We have a large central space with a collection of smaller rooms around the edges that are workshops, stores, works on paper areas etc. As I work flat when I make the paintings I need a lot of floor space. There is very little equipment involved, just me, my assistant Jane and stands that the paintings rest on when I am working on them.

Splendid Ground Beetle

Splendid Ground Beetle

Has your style changed over time?

I see my work as a liner progression and each work informs the next. I have not intentionally decided to change my style but it has obviously developed over time. Each work I learn what’s wrong and what I want to fix in the next. It evolves I think rather than changes. The earliest works in the show at Hestercombe are from 1999 and are on MDF. I started working on aluminium in later 2000 as the MFD was heavy and unpredictable. My studio was cold and damp, the MDF would bend and cause all sorts of problems so I moved onto aluminium which is much more of a stable material.

What’s your favourite gallery to visit?

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark is my favourite gallery in the world. The combination of place, architecture and collection makes this number one.

What interests you about Hestercombe?

I find Hesercombe an interesting place because of its history but also because of its evolving future.

What's next for you?

The last few years have been extremely busy with touring shows and exhibitions all over the world, I am retreating back to the studio to concentrate on painting. My next exhibition is at Dundee Contemporary Art in October 2017 where I plan to build on the Hestercombe show and make some larger scale free standing works.

Installing monster field clare woods

Installing Monster Fieldworks.

Clean Heart: A Landscape Retrospective continues until 30 October

Hestercombe Gallery, 11am – 5pm


Clare Woods in conversation with Simon Wallis OBE

15 September, 2-4.30pm

£10 For more information and to book visit our events page.

Hestercombe Gardens aerial Pawel Borowski DJI 0038

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