A recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Claire has shown both team public art and individual paintings. She was part of WAM in 2013, 2014 and 2015, a muralist team that designed and executed murals for New England Biolabs in Ipswich, MA and Cell Signaling Technology in Beverly, MA. At the Basta? exhibition at the Piazza Cenci in Rome in 2017, she showed work that was created in Rome and made in response to the city and its history. She was also an artist assistant to Enrico Riley at the American Academy in Rome…Drawing inspiration from ancient myths and rituals, Claire Weaver-Zeman creates narratives about powerful and resilient women. Painting in oil on canvas with bright, bold colors, her work focuses on drawing strength from joy, pleasure and determination. Recently, she co-curated an exhibition, Ritual Mania, at The Drawing Room with Alessandra Pozzuoli. Ritual Mania was based on the idea that the need for ritual, either religious or secular, is universal. Her first solo show was held at Sprout Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island in November 2018.
AS220 Galleries is also excited to announce a short Q+A with Claire Weaver-Zeman!
“I create an alternative, feminist mythology in order to subvert limiting, patriarchal notions of power that still operate in modern society. Rituals, talismans, and animal companions help the characters in my paintings express their growing power. Their strength is intrinsic, and comes from intelligence, creativity, and determination, rather than from a god or social institution. They have agency and reflect the self-confidence of today’s feminists.”
To shop directly for Claire Weaver-Zeman’s artwork, click here.
————- Q+A with Claire Weaver-Zeman and AS220 Galleries ————-
Q.1 What was your process and inspiration when creating “Reaching”?
A.1 I always make some stencils before I start painting. I cut them from Mylar, and for “Reaching” I had a few stencils of hands and a stencil of a girl that I had planned to use for another painting- but thought also worked for this idea.
My inspiration was a feeling of uncertainty about the future and what to do next, but still wanting to reach for it anyway. I wanted the girl to look like she is peering into the unknown, and even though the blue hand is obscuring her vision a little, she is still reaching forward.
“I create spaces that are rich with color and pattern. Color differentiates characters, moods, and states of mind. Color also indicates what kind of personality and power a person has. More saturated color means that a character is energetic and bold. Gentleness and calm is conveyed by softer, more pastel colors.”
Q.2 How long have you been creating artwork? What mediums do you use to produce artwork?
A.2 I have been seriously painting since I was in high school, but making things since I was little.
My favorite thing to draw with are fat, chisel tip markers. My favorite painting medium is oil, but I sometimes use acrylic as well. I also love using Mylar to make stencils!
Q.3 What are your biggest influences as an artist? Which current art world trends are you following, if any?
A.3 A huge influence for me is ancient Roman art and mythology and frescoes from Pompeii. For a long time, I was really interested in the Villa of the Mysteries. I’m also influenced by Henry Darger. I love the repetition in his work and the vibrant world he has created.
I don’t think this is a trend, but right now I’m really interested in Damien Hirst’s Wreck of The Unbelievable. The film he made about the project is really wonderful and funny.
“ Stencils and repetition are very important to my work. Recurrence of the same figure allows me to explore how repeated “versions” of the same person can represent different emotional states, facets of a personality, or growth and transformation over time.”
Q.4 What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
A.4 Next to a paintbrush, my most important tool is my xacto knife- and of course safety glasses and a glove to prevent mishaps!
Q.5 What are you working on now? what direction do you think or hope this new work will take you?
A.5 Ultimately, I’m trying to create my own feminist mythology- and right now I’m working on more layered work and experimentation with stencils. I hope this new work, especially the layered portraits, will help me create more of a feeling of time passing or a feeling that the characters I paint are undergoing a transformation.
Q.6 If you could be trapped in an oil painting for 24 hours, what painting would that be and why?
A.6 Caillbotte’s Paris Street, Rainy Day. To me this painting, because of the wet cobblestones, looks like you really could walk around in it. It just seems like a very relaxed scene- I like walking down a street full of people.
“As they mature, my characters become figures in rebellion. The talismans they carry protect them from the everyday anxieties they experience as they grow, learn, and experience new things. Keys allow them to open new doors and explore unknown territory. Red shoes help them find their way in the world. Dolls offer protection from the worries and distresses of everyday life. Dolls are protective because they are empathetic, anthropomorphized objects, and receptacles for emotions. The attributes my characters possess and the actions they perform reveal that they are no longer bound by oppressive roles. “