Claire Cotts


Inspired by forms from the natural world, artist Claire Cotts tries to capture in her paintings a fleeting feeling or moment in time: a warm summer night, the thrum of cicadas, the occasional low flash of a firefly, dim light filtering through water, floating fronds of pond weed, thistle seed blowing up into the air. Embedded within the paintings are fragments of ideas about faith, memory, and hope. Disorder and entropy are countered by balance and structure; the tangle and chaos of vines intermixed with off-kilter, tenuously balanced blocks and small hopeful symbols of structure: a seed pod, a bud, a branch, the dormant bulb of a daffodil.

The paintings are meditations on the nature of belief and hope—that countering the pull and tug of gravity and decay there is a sense of illimitable potential in the smallest, most humble of things. Speaking of her work, the artist shared;

“When I am painting, when it is going well, I can disappear into that world, in that state of trance and total absorption. It is the same feeling I have when I work in my garden, completely absorbed and lost in it.  I love painting large.  I want the viewer to have their field of vision filled by them, small as a bee, lost in a garden. Or to experience that sense of wonder one has, pressed up against a window in an aquarium, immersed in that world which is usually hidden to us, swaying kelp, floating jellyfish, sea anemone.

I’m interested in the unspoken, unseen – what is beneath the surface. I hope the paintings express that, and convey the feeling of constrained joy I have when I make them- the nervous breath-held mix of tension and happiness a child has while stacking up books and blocks and toys into a precariously swaying tower.”