After nearly a decade since her last New York show and a multi-year hiatus from painting, San Francisco-based artist Clare Rojas officially returned to the scene last night (Sunday, November 11th), with the help of Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, for an "untitled exhibition" of over thirty new works. The welcome was a warm one.
This catalogue marks Rojas’ foray into abstractionism, abandoning narrative in favor of ambiguity, all while keeping the discipline of line seen in her previous works. Utilizing punches of color, hard geometry, and the purposeful use of negative space, Rojas explores the ideas of balance and harmony.
To further explore the vision presented in these 33 works, we asked Rojas about her break from painting, the catalyst for abstractionism in her work, and the connection between poetry and painting in her work.
Can you tell us about your hiatus?
Clare Rojas I took a break from painting a few years ago to focus on writing, more for myself to develop and organize all my considerations in my practice. I had a teacher in a writing course who had an assignment for us to remove all the nouns, and then remove the verbs. I realized then, like an epiphany, that I wanted to focus on the space that the narrative moved through, the spaces that were sometimes taken for granted. I came back to painting to practice an awareness of all that I didn't focus on in the past.
What inspired these 33 works?
CR For me, the process of making abstract imagery is about me trying to understand and nurture my natural disposition and attraction to certain colors, shapes, patterns, lines, compositions, and allowing that instinct to be enough.
Even though this exhibition marks a step away from narrative painting into abstractionism, you've accompanied the works with three poems. Why?
CR Whether I decide to share my writing or not, I'm always writing something. I felt these paintings were very quiet and still. I felt this way about these poems and thought they went well together. Poetry feels very quiet to me, and internal, and for me occupies a meditative space. I feel like when I paint I am in a meditative space, and the poetry and painting share a nice conversation with one another because of that.
Clare Rojas’s “Untitled Exhibition” will run through December 15th at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, 5A East 78th Street