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Queens, New York-based artist Clare Grill (previously featured here) often draws inspiration for her paintings from antique embroidery samples. “I like their obsessive handiwork, gorgeous materiality, their somber mood, and feminine energy,” she says. Unraveling their imagery, she first makes drawings from them, then borrows loosely from her drawings to make paintings. Her process is cumulative, involving many layers and textures, both added and subtracted, until the piece is finished—or, as Grill explains it, “until I catch them breathing.”
“A friend who is a ceramics artist recently described an aspect of her process as taking something that’s an irritant and making something beautiful out of it; like sand becoming pearl,” she elaborates. “My paintings are very much concerned with letting irritants, things I can’t control, into the process of their making. These new ones are made with a medium that is thick and slow and drags on the nubby imperfections of linen, highlighting variations in its weave. I began many of them using combinations of old paint piles on my palette. I hate to throw paint away, so I mixed together leftover colors to find new ones. And since the paint had been around a while it had dried bits, and surprise traces of other colors in it, which got spread onto the linen too, making their own little marks and pathways. I like to highlight these ‘irritants’ and let them be on display just as much as the shapes and marks I put there.”
See more from Clare Grill below!