Clare Burnett is a London-based artist who grew up in Belgium and France. She makes abstract, coloured sculptures using a wide range of materials and processes. They are often arranged in groups to create interactions within the space and beyond.
Starting points are eclectic, drawn from her perspective on life and from what she notices around her, from the scrap yard to the internet, the city street to the gallery. Discarded boxes, plumbing accessories, scraps of coloured metal, questions about the shape of phones and the proportion of paper are all scavenged and brought back to her studio as seeds of future work. The space, full of materials, tools, found objects and half-made sculptures is her laboratory. Using an ever-expanding palette of processes she plays with objects and materials, ignoring their stories or perceived value and concentrating on their physical and visual properties and relationships.
Whilst improvisation and chance play a key role and imbue the work with a feeling of freedom and lightheartedness, there is philosophical depth and formal rigour at the heart of Clare’s practice. Paint is cut in with concrete or metal, space with line, geometry with found objects as the visual and physical qualities of the work are manipulated and refined. Colour and space are her key considerations and she has an enduring interest in how colour is read against the space around it. Sometimes this colour is the subject of a body of work itself, as in the Pink exhibition at William Benington Gallery and at others, such in Leighton House Museum or West Norwood Cemetery, it is set within the building or the landscape.
The work invites a dialogue with the viewer. They can imagine themselves moving through or travelling over the spaces of smaller, architectonic assemblages; can walk around a building or a group of sculptures or can hold, touch or sit on work. Links are there to be made within and beyond the work and the viewer is free to build their own web of connections or to simply enjoy the physical, visual experience of the work.
Clare studied Architecture and Social and Political Studies at Cambridge University and Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art. She has completed site-specific installations in spaces such as Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation, Brompton and Norwood Cemeteries and Bishopsgate Square. She has shown outdoor sculpture at Meadow Arts, Cheeseburn, Hannah Peschar and Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer. Solo exhibitions include Leighton House Museum, William Benington Gallery and the University of Leeds and she has shown at the Venice Biennale, the Royal Academy, the National Gallery, the Jerwood Space, the RIBA and the Royal Society of Sculptors. This year she will make work for a sculpture park in China and on a residency in Mexico. She has been elected for a second term as President of the Royal Society of Sculptors.