Claire A. Warden: Mimesis
Claire A. Warden’s delicate salt photographs were featured on Lenscratch several years ago and so needless to say, I was happy to meet with Claire and see her new work at the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego in October.
Claire’s new project, Mimesis, takes photography into new realms, transforming the image into other worldly landscapes that are at once intimate and celestial. Her process uses her own saliva to manipulate the silver gelatin and that act becomes, in a sense, a performance of self aligning with art. Opening tonight, Claire will be sharing her work in Mimesis: A Presentation of the Self, at Art Intersection in Gilbert, Arizona. There is an opening reception tomorrow, December 13th, at 6pm.
Claire (b. Montreal, Quebec) is an emerging artist working in Phoenix, Arizona. Claire’s work explores intersecting ideas and issues of place, preservation, identity and performance. The constructed photograph is an integral part to her arts practice. She received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from Arizona State University and completed one year of coursework towards an MFA at Texas Woman’s University.
Claire’s work is in personal collections and has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including: Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Soho Photo Gallery in New York, Agripas 12 Gallery in Jerusalem and Galería Valid Foto in Barcelona. Her work has earned her a residency through the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists in Léhon, France, the Ted Decker Catalyst Artist Grant, Individual Artist Grant Award supported by the Creative Capacity Fund and LensCulture’s Top 50 Emerging Talents Award in 2014. In December 2013, her work was featured in Real Simple magazine and The HAND Magazine in April 2014. Claire is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Art Intersection in Arizona.
This series represents an ongoing search to understand the internal and external forces that accumulate and compound identity. When looking at these images, the urge to ask “what is it?” echoes the question, “what are you?” a question that has been directed towards me countless times. Being raised in a family with a diverse ethnic heritage has led me to reflect on the fluid, abstract nature of identity, which informs my use of photography.
I use saliva and manual manipulation as part of my photographic process, which steers the work away from the signifying functions inherent to the medium of photography. These methods are used as symbolic acts to expose the biologic and socio-cultural forces that stimulate the emergence and performance of an identity. This process produces a series of images that reveal certain truths in identity and simultaneously the inadequacies of language to describe oneself. Resembling systems of the natural sciences—microscopic, topographic and celestial—the photographs allegorize the complexity of systems that make up an individual and the perception of self.
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