Clare Rojas (Opening April 5)

April 5 - May 18 2013

It is a great pleasure for Galleri Nicolai Wallner to present an exhibition of new works by Clare Rojas.

This exhibition marks a new departure for Clare Rojas. Known for her illustrative paintings full of folk art imagery and rich storytelling, this latest body of work is contrastingly minimalist, geometric and abstract. As a result, what is notable about this body of work is perhaps not what is featured, but what is not featured.

However, in this dramatic transition Rojas has not lost what made her earlier paintings great. This new minimalist work is neither austere, nor aggressive. The color scheme is bright and warm, reminiscent of her folk art roots, and as a result the lines are softened and the images become more intimate and more accessible. For Rojas, with this new style of painting it is no longer a question of painting the story itself. Rather, it is a question of painting what happens during the in between moments of a story, or what happens when there is no story at all.

This becomes evident while considering this group of works exhibited at Galleri Nicolai Wallner. Some paintings seem to quite literally depict space. In one painting, the blocks of color are large and almost rectangular in form, taking up the entirety of the canvas. These blocks of color intersect with each other at abrupt angles, becoming three-dimensional, almost as if they were depicting walls in a hallway, or objects in a room. In other paintings, the depiction of space is less evident. Small forms float on a white background, placed in seemingly total abstraction. On further inspection, it is apparent that some of these forms intersect with each other, and it is as if the spaces that Rojas is painting have broken down, giving way to a more pared down representation. In some of these paintings, these small forms are repeated in an ordered fashion, coming together as vibrantly colored patterns, reminiscent of Rojas’ earlier works with quilts and textiles.

In conjunction with her exhibitions, Rojas often performs as her alter-ego, country musician Peggy Honeywell. She has released five musical albums under this pseudonym. Complimenting her work, Honeywell’s music is lyrical and contains strong story-telling elements. Peggy Honeywell will be performing as part of the exhibition at Galleri Nicolai Wallner.

In relation to the exhibition, we will show a single piece by Barry McGee in our project space. For this presentation has created one of his notorious bottle pieces where he paints portraits of homeless street characters on their own empty bottles of liquor.

Clare Rojas lives and works in San Francisco. She has exhibited extensively, among other places at The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (Leon, Spain), Knoxville Museum of Art (Knoxville), Museum of Craft and Folk Art (San Francisco), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), Deitch Projects (New York), Prism (Los Angeles), and The Luggage Store (San Francisco).

carrie emberlyn