ART + SCIENCE: Women and Earth: Claire A. Warden
In Claire A. Warden’s series MIMESIS, she uses a camera-less process to literally and metaphorically shed light on the shaping of her own identity. Within her creative process, she applied her own saliva on the emulsion of photographic film, allowing her DNA to etch through the emulsion, leaving behind biologic matter and metallic silver. Using a personal, visual vocabulary combining formal elements of line, shape and repetition, she drew marks on the surface of the film. With ties to astronomy, biology and geometry, MIMESIS presents a monochromatic primordial world that explores identity through science. The viewer is asked to reconsider the complexities of defining oneself.
Claire A. Warden (b. Montreal, Quebec) is an artist working in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from Arizona State University. Claire’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. She has been named LensCulture’s Top 50 Emerging Talents, Photo Boite’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, and a Critical Mass finalist. In 2017, she received an Artist Research and Development Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Ed Friedman Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography. Her work has been featured in various publications, including Real Simple magazine, The HAND Magazine, Common Ground Journal, Prism Magazine, and Diffusion Magazine. Claire was awarded artist residencies through the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists in France, Art Intersection in 2015, the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2016 and a forthcoming residency at LATITUDE in Chicago.
Mimesis is grounded in issues of identity, the other and the psychology of knowledge and power. The creation of this series comes at a time when the struggle to accept the unfamiliar is pervasive in our culture. 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 and one that I find increasingly difficult to answer. Raised in a family with a diverse ethnic background has led me to reflect on the fluid, abstract nature of identity, which informs my use of photography.
I use a cameraless photographic process on negative film, which incorporates saliva and mark-making and print the final image as large-scale photographs. I find this process to be uniquely qualified to address the biologic and socio-cultural forces that stimulate the emergence of an identity. This process produces a series of images that reveal certain truths in my experiences surrounding 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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