My paintings are centered around explorations of the natural world, with a particular focus on how we catalog, categorize and venerate natural objects. Much of my current work is drawn from greenhouses, a space where plants are isolated and bent to human will for our enjoyment.

These types of plants hold a cultural value, we choose to elevate them by letting them into our homes, and preserve and archive them in conservatories. The arrangement of the flora in these spaces reveals narratives ranging from botany to colonialism to romance. Using plants as a vehicle for abstraction, I am fascinated by the disconnect between a painted surface and the artist’s vision. 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. Probing the medium’s capabilities, I find inspiration in the result of trying and failing to capture something, while recognizing the heights and limits of the paint.  

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.