About Claire Kirkup
Claire is an Australian Contemporary artist, born 1976, who currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
“At the very core of my paintings are life experiences. Emotions are applied in flexible forms, and showcased as gaping cliffs, hilltops, precipices or large expanses of sky. For me there is a real parallel between emotion and landscape. Our country is so diverse, and it can be shaped and expressed in numerous unique ways. I find it mirrors the human spirit. We all feel our senses heightened when we are confronted by unique and breathtaking things in our natural surroundings. Taking my life experiences and moulding them into my own landscape is my way of working through tough things. Sometimes my works are associated with nostalgia, or deal with death and renewal. Taking something that is intangible onto a canvas with paint, accompanied by experimental music in the studio, solidifies time and encapsulates that experience. If you were to look back at a catalogue of my works over the years, it would read like a diary.”
Prior to growing up in Canberra, Claire’s family lived in the mining town of Cobar, where upon Claire often draws early childhood memories. The time her father spent working as an Opal miner in Lightning Ridge would later inspire her major work ‘Lady Royale’. This piece went on to be a finalist piece in 2019 in the ‘Out Back Art Awards’ at the Matilda Centre in Queensland, Australia.
“We had a large close family of women growing up which was fantastic and painful at the same time. All these girls screaming to be heard. We are all creative in some way. Hung on our walls were Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin prints. As beautiful as they were in their own right, I found them to be melancholy and too depressing. I craved something else, and as I knew no living Artists at the time, I went in search of my own romantic version of art.” This saw Claire make the decision to leave her formal design studies to travel and live overseas in search of creative freedom.
“I essentially found, then executed my world through painting.”
Claire’s art practice has developed over the years to now encompass abstract figurative paintings and drawings, and more recently light Installation work, which she views as an explorative extension of her landscape pieces. The unexpected emergence of these two ideas together- painting expressive dreamy landscape works and moulding them into arresting luminous hanging sculptures- enhanced Claire’s already robust, metaphoric scenes.
Claire's career has been notably fruitful. ‘The Story of Jane’ - Claire’s figurative work expressing time, place, family history and connection - was selected as a 2019 finalist in the ‘Len Fox Painting Award’ at Castlemaine Art Museum in Victoria. Her Contemporary artworks are held in prodigious collections, both nationally and internationally, including Canada, throughout Europe and the United States.
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