Artist Research 5

Clare Strand

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Clare Strand,Untitled, from Signs of Struggle series, 2002;

 

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Clare Strand, from Gone Astray Portraits series, 2002-03;

 

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Clare Strand, from Gone Astray Portraits series, 2002-03;

 

ANALYSIS

Clare Strand works with a variety of medium including photography, video and installations. In her works, she explores different subjects from simplicity of objects, to the representation of struggle.

The first photograph is from the ‘Signs Of A Struggle’ series. The series deals with the artist’s past and how the area she was living in, affected her life. In the image, we can see the artist herself with her head turned to the right which represents the past. She is covering her eyes to highlight the struggles of the past and that she does not want to see or think about it, however these are what made her who she is today. In the series, the artist explores that by photographing places that look abandoned to, yet again, signify the past. Many of the images are marked with numbers, crosses or arrows that represents the ‘signs’ of the struggle as well as allow the viewer to follow the journey of the series. The project allows the artist to deal with the struggle as well as allows the viewer to think and deal with their own, personal struggles.

The two other images are from the same series titled ‘Gone Astray Portraits’. “Gone Astray Portraits borrows from the 19th century street portrait convention of using painted murals as backgrounds to photograph city dwellers. Each sitter is carefully styled and propped to assume an urban generic type, on close examination each subject shows signs of wear, from ripped tights to bandaged wrists. The title of the series is taken from a Charles Dickens text, Gone Astray 1853 which is an account of a young child lost in the City of London. A story filled of references to anxiety and vulnerability and to people leading double lives.”[i]

The series explores the idea of vulnerability, anxiety and living a double life. The artist used a traditional, Victorian background and dressed models in casual outfits. However, the facial expressions of the subjects do not signify tradition nor casualty. The facial expressions highlight the idea of being lost and vulnerable in this big world we live in. The project focuses around the idea of having to act the way society expects you to, the way the people around you want to see you; and feeling totally different on the inside. The project explores the ideology of mental issues such as anxiety or depression that affect everyday lives of many people around us. The artist tries to make the viewer think about those around them, and start wondering whether there are any that are acting on day to day basis to not worry anybody and to fit in.

[i] http://www.clarestrand.co.uk/works/?id=100;

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