Claire Murray | West Yorkshire
My work embraces the rich and dramatic landscapes and seascapes of the north of England, concerning mainly ideas of memory and recall, but also natural history and ecology, politics and environmental issues.
After my undergraduate degree in Fine Art, I completed my Masters’ in Fine Art from Northumbria University in Newcastle, I continued my art practice in the north east for some years, before relocating to Yorkshire. I have been a college art teacher for 15 years, and work freelance, delivering art and design classes and workshops across the region. The pull of my heart to the north east coast is always present in my work, combining and harmonising with the dramatic and earthy landscape of Yorkshire. At the heart of my practice, when I’m most happy with a piece, is perhaps when the elements – be they earth, wind, sky, sun or water – are successfully united, in a painting.
When I am creating, and then reflecting on my work, I like to think about ideas of exposure and sanctuary, a sense of place, fleeting memories and illusion. I like to find space when I travel, away from people, and I look for special corners of the UK and the world to explore and remember. Although I take many photographs of the places I visit, I never work directly from a photograph, preferring instead to consider the residual memory of a place, the sense of space, atmosphere, light, texture and shape that lingers after one has left. I am looking at ways to almost patch together a
recollection of a place, not merely to recreate a perfect representation, more a feeling or a fleeting recall.
I am currently very interested in the idea of recalling ‘authenticity’ through memory in a digital age, where we edit, select and construct an ‘ideal’ image through social media. The idea that this might create a ‘false’ or ‘constructed’ memory, rather than the experiential sensation of actually being ‘there’. Can this visual exploration lead to any connections with recall, dementia and temporary memory loss?
I work mostly with oils and thinly applied watercolours over textured grounds, such as plaster and gesso, using a combination of thin washes, fine line and expressive paint application methods. I explore working with varying scale pieces - some tiny canvases only 15cm square to a large scale 4-foot abstract canvas.