Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present Claire Oswalt: Bornaforms. This exhibition features new paintings and mixed media works on paper that tackle themes of formal ambiguity and the human desire for association. This is the Austin-based artist’s first solo exhibition with Octavia Art Gallery.
In Oswalt’s most recent works, she continues an investigation of form through drawings and paintings that present seemingly identifiable shapes. Most of her forms hold a natural sensibility, almost mimicking the organic. In contrast, the shapes are oversimplified, outlined, and often framed within borders that lead to more questions about the origin of these forms.
Martin Heidegger recognized form as belonging to the very essence of being; “that which places itself in its limit, completing itself,” a notion Oswalt toys with, surrendering control and giving it back to the world around us. The work need not-depend on human interaction in order to have meaning. In fact, it is this uncertainty and sense of detached wonder that she strives to find in the work, and within the process itself.
“Consciousness itself is formal: not so much form-giving as form-receiving.”Gyorgy Kepes
In Claire Oswalt:Bornaforms, Oswalt notes an interest in the social tendency to quickly generate and assign labels, to reduce complex notions to sound bytes, and to sell identity through oversimplified icons. It is the human ego applying meaning to the form; it is the human ego exercising control over its environment. Each painting in this exhibition begins as a collage, and each collage begins with an unforeseen path of quickly layering torn pieces of painted paper, with only intuition to guide their placement. From there, Oswalt employs discipline to merely usher the form into full being, conscious not to impose her own being upon the work.
Claire Oswalt was born in San Antonio, TX and currently lives and works in Austin, TX. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including: Galleri Urbane in Marfa and Dallas, TX, Taylor De Cordoba and The Santa Monica Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA, Chamber in New York, NY and most recently at Johanssen Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Oswalt has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Paper Magazine, Artweek, and is the recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant for Mixed Media.