Claire BrandtSan Francisco, CA
My drawings and paintings investigate the connection between body and word and movement. Body is a limitation as well as something boundless, just as words on a page are nothing but marks until an individual reads them. There is a deep connection between body and word–words give shape to lives, lives form words, lives are bodies lived. Movement is the connection between all. Drawing is movement that embodies thought–I keep my work loose and open, so that the vitality of making shows through the finished pieces. My goal for any figure I make, human, animal or letter, is that a viewer feels its movement in his or her own body, therefore viscerally understanding something of the connections I am drawing.
My most current work is focused on Orca Whales. I grew up in Washington State where Orcas are large figures in the collective imagination—there are 3 resident pods of Orcas in Puget Sound (around 100 whales). Which means they are a big presence in Indigenous art and mythos, as well as in mainstream media. There, Orcas are pretty easy go and see by boat. Every city I lived in as a child overlooked the water (as does San Francisco, where I currently live). When I looked out, I always wondered if the whales were there. They represented mystery, possibility, and awe. My focus on Orcas in my artwork exemplifies my deeply held belief that the life of the mind, imagination, and spirit are both a product of what we come from and impact and create where we are.
Claire Brandt’s work has been shown in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, most recently at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco and the David Brower Center in Berkeley. She maintains an active studio practice in San Francisco's Infill Studios (of which she is a founding member). Brandt has been awarded residencies at the Red Poppy Art House, Vermont Studio Center, and the Headlands Center for the Arts: Open to the Elements. She received her A.B. in English and American Literature from Harvard College in 1994 and an MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2005. She was raised in Bellingham & Tacoma, Washington.