Ikon presents the first UK museum exhibition by American artist Clare Rojas. Best known for her folk-inspired work, Rojas uses a wide range of media, including painting, installation and print-making, with a smart sense of humour, to make observations on gender relations and representation.
Characteristically made using flat blocks of colour, betraying her origins as a printmaker, Rojas’ paintings are filled with subjects and iconography from fables and tales. Narratives are woven throughout; works such as Sun Poppies (2009) provide a romantic view of her female characters in the natural world, in contrast to the darker undertones of Ladies Bleeding to the Sky (2009).
Ikon’s exhibition comprises much new work and marks a recent shift in Rojas’ practice. Flower and Chair and Red Hooded Man and Baby Star (both 2009) show domestic interiors either devoid of inhabitants or occupied by a lone figure. Architecture and people morph into increasingly abstracted conglomerations of pattern while evoking a range of symbolic associations. Similarly Rojas’ paintings act as components in larger installations, the walls of the gallery covered by a patchwork of painted panels akin to quilting, or hung in rows from peg rails. These assemblages combine to recall references from West Coast Modernism to Native American or Latino craft, outsider art and street graffti.
Rojas’ work is also displayed in Ikon’s Tower Room where paintings on antique banjos bring together her musical and literary interests.
This exhibition is supported by Magnolia Editions, Oakland and is organised in collaboration with the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco.