Clare OlivaresOakland, CA
Hauntology, a term used in the early 1990s by philosopher Jacques Derrida, refers to the idea that the present only exists with respect to the past and aesthetics are thought to be strange and old-fashioned; a “ghost” to the past. Hauntology in art often incorporates various images or styles that invoke mystery, memory, spiritual longing, placelessness and elegies of nature. My work, influenced by the dark romantic style of nineteenth century American painters such as Charles Burchfield, Agnes Pelton, Martin Johnson Heade and Ralph Albert Blakelock, strives to touch the unknown just beyond our reach using the style of hauntology.
I am working in the art historical context of landscape. Landscape allows for my personal storytelling and alludes to the sublime. My artworks have embedded memory; each landscape depicted has a specific personal narrative. As contemplative markers of longing and memory, I charge my landscapes with saturated color and an atmosphere that can be quiet and reflective but also eerily disturbing.
Questions that are asked by my work are: What is accurate and what is true? Where does the subconscious meet the conscious? What is ominous and what is transcendent – can both co-exist in one painting? With a quiet directness I investigate nature’s mystery, revealing its shadowy and numinous ways.
I work in painting, mixed media and poetry. My paintings emerge from a spiritual and intuitive mindfulness and a strong connection to my art history background. I received two B.A. degrees, in art history and studio art, from the University of California at Berkeley. I received an MFA in painting from Mills College in Oakland. Studying with Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown and Jay de Feo gave me a strong appreciation for the expressiveness of painting.
Raised in the California’s Central Valley, I spent my childhood surrounded by open space, agricultural fields and a desire to escape. My paintings reflect the quiet, open space of that childhood. My paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the University of San Francisco (CA), Loma Linda University (CA), Richmond Art Center (CA), Lisa Coscino Gallery (CA), Laguna Gloria Art Museum (TX), Museum Without Walls (NY), Alexandria Museum of Art (LA), Louisiana State University (LA), art space Dotouan (Japan) and Gallery Irohani (Japan). I was awarded residencies at Morris Graves Foundation (2007, 2009), AROHO Foundation (2005), Kala Art Institute (1991) and numerous awards including a finalist for the Alameda County Purchase Award in 2008. I live in Oakland and enjoy experimenting with bookmaking, mixed media and painting.