Current Issue #488

Clara Adolphs makes art from fleeting, discarded memories

Clara Adolphs, ‘Upside Down’, 2019, oil on linen, 115 x 102 cm
Clara Adolphs, Upside Down, 2019, oil on linen, 115 x 102 cm

Snapshots taken of people unknown recording moments in their lives become the inspiration for artist Clara Adolphs who breathes new life into them through her paintings.

Based in the town of Bundanoon, NSW, Clara Adolphs is exhibiting for the first time in Adelaide at Hugo Michell Gallery with her exhibition In Between Days. These works continue her interest in the figure and the idea of taking photos from different contexts and putting them together to create a wider narrative as she explores notions of memory and time. 

Adolphs’ paintings are created using photographs sourced from markets, specialty shops and in bulk online from around the world. She uses these snapshots, which are mostly of a personal nature, to recreate lives recorded in the moment.

Clara Adolph, Spinning Girl
Clara Adolph, Spinning Girl

Breathing new life into these discarded memories, Adolphs’ work possess a universal quality as she depicts familiar scenes of holidays, family outings and other special events. But there is also a sense of mystery, with the owners and subjects of the photographs unknown.

While Adolphs experiments with other mediums, she always returns to oil paint on linen as she searches for a balance of texture, mark and line in her work. “There is something simple and raw about it,” she says. “It feels familiar and comfortable, but there is always something new to discover, as though I’ll never fully grasp it.”

The technique used to create these paintings has a performative aspect to it, with Adolphs working quickly, applying wet impasto paints on top of each other. “I like how dynamic oil can be,” says Adolph. “By using a paint brush and palette knife, my marks are obvious and varied. I want the surface to be alive, otherwise I feel there is no point to me recreating these images. “

6 February – 12 March

Paul Yore | Clara Adolphs

Jane Llewellyn

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