It takes a lot of courage for an artist that is starting to garner attention to abandon her distinct style and take some risks with experimental painting. But that is precisely the courage that Clare Rojas has. Her second solo exhibition at Prism LA is the artists continued free fall into the abstract. Gone are the folksy figures that once wove her paintings. Rojas has taken a complete dive off the hard edge.
Her new paintings explore “architectural interiority” and in some works it’s more evident than others. Some are busy with shape after shape of bright colors in complete non-representational ecstasy. Some are a bit more somber and create a clearly defined space. Most lie somewhere in between. With large flat forms of color it really takes skill to give shape to an interesting picture. The subtly involved in straddling this blurry line makes these paintings very enjoyable to look at. Rojas uses perspective masterfully to bring to life the surface of her canvas.
Considered as a whole, the body of work presented in the show offers contrast between organic and geometric shapes. One painting gives us a soft and rounded waving hill. In another room we are given the geometric alternative. A large triangular mountain rests majestically beyond a flat lake. Here the same flat shapes of color that had remained non-representational elsewhere are now arranged into a landscape.
Where Rojas is most successful is where she leans towards the vaguely-abstract-but-not-quite side. Meaning that the most interesting painting was the one that seemed to depict a gallery space. The black shapes that frame the other colors provide the boundary that transforms these blocks from “shapes” into “walls”. We also have a white background that turns “space” into “room”. The viewer is left standing in a gallery, staring into what ambiguously resembles a gallery, forced to contemplate the very space they are in.
Words and images by Noé Gaytán.