In the crowded field of contemporary abstraction, New York based Clare Grill has distinguished herself as a thoughtful and deliberate painter who values time and skill. Touch’d Lustre, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, is her most ambitious to date and features nine large-scale paintings.
Not content to rely upon market gimmicks or trendy themes, Grill responds to tried and true materials; the nuances of a dry mixture of oil paint and the imperfect weave of the linen in which it is embedded. Subtle color and scale shifts, that have become her signature, emerge through a deft push and pull of the brush, smudge of the finger, or wipe of a rag. While her process allows for chance and discovery, Grill employs a careful needlepoint-like attention to small sections of developing works as they are laid horizontally on her studio table.
As amorous records of time and touch, Grill’s paintings encourage quiet and often melancholic contemplation. Soft, rounded forms emerge only to recess as others become apparent. One shape rests next to another and is defined only by a delicate difference in texture. What appears to be the shadow of an object in the foreground is an illusion created by an ever so slight difference in color. One gets the sense that each painting’s lineage could be determined by the respective season’s light just outside the artist’s studio windows.
If our time is to be defined by digital ways of seeing, Grill’s paintings are most certainly analog – a quality that Sara Christoph writing for the Brooklyn Rail described as the “artist’s material intentionality.” As the artist has said, “They are arrived at through their making – ultimately shaped by the size and texture of each canvas, and by the subtle marks and colors that surface from repeated rubbing, sanding, and dragging paint on linen.” To quote Leah Ollman of the L.A. Times, “Grill's short, patchy brushstrokes have an earnest functionality about them. Her palette of soiled aqua, rust, brown and sallow green has the quality of something lovingly used.”
Clare Grill (b. 1979, Chicago, IL) lives and works in Queens, NY. She received a MFA from Pratt and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Solo exhibitions include Reserve Ames, Los Angeles, CA; Soloway, Brooklyn, NY; and Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. The artist has been included in notable exhibitions at the Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY; Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Lancaster, PA; Artspace, New Haven, CT; and Nudashank Gallery, Baltimore, MD. Her work has been discussed in Artforum, Modern Painters, the Brooklyn Rail, and Hyperallergic, among others.