Glass previews Fragmented – an exhibition at Zuleika Gallery, London

IN THE midst of the divisions and reinterpretations demanded by the experience of living through Covid-19, Zukleika Gallery presents an exhibition of the works made by abstract painter Frances Aviva Blane and author and ceramicist Claudia Claire during lockdown.

Blane’s works are made up of fragmented lines: mark making in rich, dark oil tones. Faces and figures loom from abstracted mark making in her oils, and are scribbled over paper in charcoal. The works are emotive; explorative and confrontational. They both depict and unpack the tangle of emotions experienced as people have distanced and regrouped, fragmented and consolidated in the past year.

Frances Aviva Blane, Edge, oil on linen, 2020

Frances Aviva Blane, Red Head, oil on linen, 2020

Frances Aviva Blane, Night, oil on linen, 2020

Speaking of the exhibition’s topic, Claire says, “Pots break and can be mended in numbers ways. People mostly survive trauma; not always, but mostly we do.” She continues, “The word ‘fragmented’, has the suggestion of rupture, but it also suggests future and some hope.”

The fragmentation of ceramic work is visceral: physical destruction that reduces the organic form of a hand made pot to splintered shards. Through this lens that Claire offers, however, these pieces are granted an identity and validity of their own. Their fragmentation, the pressure they undergo, is part of a process of creation.

Over her time in lockdown Claire produced a series of pots that, while whole in their form, explore the show’s title through juxtaposed patches of imagery: depictions of old friendships rekindled virtually, and new friends made during lockdown.

Claire’s housemate and close friend, Hossein, has been caught up in Iran since the first outbreak. His image populates much of her work, offering a visual representation of their emotional intimacy in physical separation.

Claudia Claire, We Are A Family, 2020

Claudia Claire, Verdant Spring, 2020

In dialogue, the works of both artists illustrate fragmentation as a process, rather than a fatal rupture.  They offer a shifting, present-time exploration of what it is to exist now.

by Connie de Pelet

Fragmented is at Zuleika Gallery, Riverwide House, 6 Masons Yard, Mayfair, London SW1Y 6BU  from October 21 until November 14, 2020