My studio work, since the early 1990’s, has resided in two distinct areas - that of painting and that of photography. Although I work with these two different mediums, underlying themes relating to the body, memory and decay remain consistent in both areas of my studio practice.
As a process based painter I have a continued interest in expanding upon issues relating to contemporary abstraction as well as positioning my work in relation to the Modernist grid, binary opposition and the body. I view my paintings as skin that can be beautiful from a distance but upon closer examination one discovers imperfections. I stamp a mark into wet paint as this process emphasizes the materiality of paint and overrides the overt order of the grid. I use a variety of colours that are layered through glazing techniques always working toward an effect that is atmospheric - surfaces and colours both revealed and disrupted by a grid of scars. Colour is used to nudge a perceptual as well as visceral response - the paintings affirm the mark of the hand and the handmade.
The current photographic works (photograms) reflect my interest in the ephemeral quality of memory and issues of the body. I am using found glass vessels that are typically viewed as distinctly feminine, but more importantly, as representative of a particular generation of women.
The glassware that I seek out and use to make my work reminds me of my mother’s generation of women who coveted and used these items for special occasions. In particular, they were used for rites of passage such as bridal and baby showers or events marking some familial or communal milestone. These vessels, once desired but now undesirable and unfashionable, spend a considerable amount of time sitting on thrift store shelves. Some of these dishes have functional purposes whilst others are purely decorative. I often take stock of how long a particular item might sit on a store shelf before it is marked down for quicker sale. For me they have become metaphors for the aging female body.
Cora Cluett was born in Nova Scotia and educated at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (BFA) as well as the University of Guelph (MFA) – for which she was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for her thesis work. Her paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions that have taken place in international, national and regional venues; such as, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Painting Center (New York), The Albright Knox (Buffalo) and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. She has received numerous artist grants and awards and her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections; such as, The Father Dan Donovan Collection, The Canada Council Art Bank, London Life Insurance, BMO - Bank of Montreal, The Business Development Bank of Canada, The Art Gallery of Guelph and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Aspects of her painting practice have been included in a substantial publication by Roald Naasgard, Abstract Painting in Canada, 2007 as well as Carte Blanche 2: Painting, the Magenta Foundation, 2008. In 2014, she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She is married to the Scottish painter, Paul Dignan.