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Kristen McClarty

Authentic connection with materials is integral to my art practice and plays an important role in my storytelling.

“When making art I am acutely aware of expressing the provenance of the piece, as I pull together elements of materiality; the natural lie of the wood, the paper or textile often handmade, using skills passed from one generation to the next, the hard and sharp edge of the tools I use to carve away the surface, carrying their own artisanal history. The layering of tone and colour; what is seen and what is unseen, but is nevertheless present, all contribute to the finished artwork.” 

My recent woodblocks draw on the idea that lived experience lingers in a place, recorded on the surfaces of rock, droplets of water and suspended particles in air and liquid. A residual energy, reluctant to leave, pooling in the space or mounting up as a palimpsest on the very structure of the environment.

This theme of layered energy in a space is carried into my new body of work which I am currently working on, to be exhibited in 2024. 

I have exhibited in the United Kingdom at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair and I am represented by Circle Contemporary in Cornwall.  I have exhibited widely in South Africa at galleries such as W17 Gallery, David Krut Projects, Gallery 2, StateoftheART, Daor Contemporary, Kalk Bay Modern, Artvark, and White River Gallery among others, and my work is held in public collections such as The Art Bank of South Africa Acquisitions 2022 and private collections in South Africa and worldwide.

My natural mark making and stitched work is an intimate recordal of thoughts and feelings on cloth. The cloth that I work on, has been botanically printed or dyed from locally foraged plants. These scraps of textile are layered and connected in a slow and deliberate process, developing as I stitch and think. My message and journal cloths say the things that I do not say out loud and remember the feelings that I may otherwise forget.

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