SOCO Gallery is pleased to present Orphaned Wells, an exhibition of new paintings by the San Francisco based artist Clare Rojas. Rojas will join SOCO Gallery for a reception and celebration of her new monograph Plain Black: Abstract Paintings by Clare Rojas on Friday, November 4th from 6 - 8 PM. SOCO Gallery is located at 421 Providence Road in Charlotte, North Carolina. The reception is free and open to the public. Copies of the book are available for $50 and can be pre-ordered by emailing email@example.com. This will be the artist's first exhibition in North Carolina.
“A painter, musician and writer-- yes, Clare Rojas is all of these. But I would like to posit here that Rojas is more even than just these things. She is something of a time-traveler, a medium, a magician. An undeniably powerful yet tranquil presence. An utterly contemporary figure -- in every sense of that term” - Jens Hoffmann, Curator
Since receiving her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002, Rojas’ work has transformed from narrative figurative works to the balanced, colorful abstractions we see today. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco where her work was quickly included in “The Mission School”. Starting small scale and figurative, her subject matter subverted the “male gaze” by showing strong, statuesque women. Rojas’ immediately recognizable figures explored the delicate balance of male/ female relationships both domestically and throughout art history. Her style was linear and monochromatic while still remaining figurative.
In 2012, figures were completely removed from Rojas’ works. It was a conscious decision that allowed her to shift the way gender and political themes are portrayed in her work. What remains is the confident, hard-edged shapes, colors, patterns and open spaces of stretched linen; the building blocks of her early work crystallized into its primary elements. The size of her art is crucial as well. Rojas’ works are either large scale canvases that feature solid shapes interacting with gestural lines and patterns, or smaller works which are reminiscent of musical notes or an ancient language. Just the act of creating large scale, hard-edge abstraction, which is a historically “male” practice, carries the themes of Rojas’ earlier paintings into her current body of work. As Rojas says, “Going abstract was just as political if not more so than anything else I've done.”
Just as Rojas’ body of work has continued to develop, so has her voice. At some point along the way, Rojas began performing with a guitar as her folk-singing alter ego, Peggy Honeywell, a character that continues to find its way into her multidisciplinary work, perhaps becoming indiscernible from the artist herself.
Clare Rojas (American, B. 1976)
Rojas has received numerous accolades for her work, including grants from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Eureka Fellowship Award, and the Artadia Award. She has had solo exhibitions at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Deitch Projects, New York City; the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Massachusetts; MUSAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León), Spain; Marella Gallery, Beijing, China; and Museum Het Doemien, Netherlands. She is represented by Alice Gallery in Brussels and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago and her work is in the permanent collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Denver Art Museum; American Museum of the Moving Image, NY. The artist received her BA from Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in San Francisco.