Claire Whitehurst is an artist living and working in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is teaching and pursuing her MFA in Painting at the University of Iowa. She was born in Louisiana and raised in Mississippi, earning her BFA at the University of Mississippi, and a Post Baccalaureate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, PA. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States, and abroad in France and Germany. She has permanent public commissioned installations in Jackson, Mississippi, and in St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She received the Stanley Foundation Grant for International Research to study the formal and sculptural qualities of cave paintings in the Dordogne region of France. Her work explores the liminality between physical and psychological relationships of sense and emotion, the characteristics within the surface of objects as a mythology, and the possibility of narrative through an object’s formal qualities.
Suspended in a state between representation and abstraction, my pictures rely on the surfaces from which they appear for context inside of a structure of color, texture, and symbol. The surfaces often dictate the images that are produced – leaving some room for a sense of autonomy. I’m interested in the boundaries of clarity and misunderstanding, and how those boundaries react to our reliance on the arrangements of symbols and characteristics inside of our own of logic and sense-making. The psychic distance between a viewer and an object can change and pivot depending on what associations their environments provide at any point in time. The tertiary space that follows where logic and idea manipulate is where I’m most interested and engaged. The possibility for an image to confuse and describe simultaneously is what I want out of the images I make.