My work addresses concerns about the relationship between humans and nature, using the painted surface as an investigative medium. I'm currently fascinated by natural collections, both personal and institutional. I'm interested in what makes an object or living form desirable and precious to collectors.
Separated, numbered and placed in front of a neutral background, rare minerals and gems are beheld in a manner entirely discrete from their original environment. My Rock Collection paintings are meant to be experienced as a group, to accumulate and be shifted in a variety of ways, much like their real life counterparts. The simplicity of their composition allows me to dedicate my attention to the structure and color of these forms, embracing the abstraction of crystalline anatomy. These works’ compositions are in direct contrast to my greenhouse paintings, mimicking the manner in which such collections are typically presented. There, I am able to take advantage of the strange hybrid world of greenhouses: a living archive where plants of all backgrounds and types mingle, creating a rich tapestry of leaves and vines against architectural space. Painting is the ideal medium for examining these natural hoards, it walks the line between the real and the invented, combining history, personal vision and the physicality of form.
Claire Elliott is a painter who lives and works in Portland, OR. She received her MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in 2014.