Clare Menck

Artist Statement

Mid-career artist Clare Menck’s 2014 solo exhibition, Outside In presented several departures her in work; most importantly it sees her return to painting on canvas after years of working exclusively on wood.

She worked with watery washes for the initial build-up, in contrast to her alla prima work on wood and found the accidental happenings with paint dissolving and dripping onto the canvas both frustrating and exhilarating. The artist noted that relinquishing of control on a technical level, for the first time in years, became both a frightening and a fulfilling creative journey.

As a student when considerations of the market place were not relevant, she worked in a free and painterly style on a large scale, but over the years have developed and concentrated on what has become her forte: realist interpretations of the visual world around me, generally autobiographic in nature, on a small to miniature scale.

Personal and life-changing experiences signalled the return to canvas and the need to transform and challenge her existing methodology; resulting in a return to the former looseness, freedom of interpretation and style reminiscent of her early work.  This shift in approach was clearly illustrated in the two series presented in her solo exhibition, the summer-series with Langebaan, Zeekoevlei and the Berg River as backdrop, and the winter-series, with Paris at night as setting.

The exhibition found its genesis from photographic references of a warm and balmy albeit tumultuous summer and autumn, during which ordinary activities such as evening walks, picnics or swims with her family became her subject matter.  These gentle recuperative activities in and around water constitute the summer-series.

As the winter of 2014 approached, she looked inward towards the personal in an attempt to interpret the private and seldom revealed intimacy of adult life.

In 2015 Clare Menck did an artist’s residency at Murati Wine Farm outside Stellenbosch.  The work she produced during the residency and subsequent to her time spent there has again signalled a departure.  The works included in Saints and Sinnersa journey through womanhood exhibition, clearly shows a shifting from the self, the autobiographic to the public – again painting those round her, but necessarily known to her.