For its first solo exhibition, the Mary Street Gallery has a superb Clare Scott show in oils, ROAD TRIP. In 2006, the artist took a solo journey across America, less to discover America and more to discover and reconnect with herself. The 38 small canvases and 10 larger and more panoramic pieces catches a touristy view of the freedom of the wide open spaces and more importantly, in this gallery, takes the viewer on a journey of discovery and beauty. Issues of size and scale confront you a lot, yet in this single room space there is such depth and insight. Sitting in the almost centre of the gallery I experienced elements of my life journey thro music – The Doors, Woody Guthrie, U2, Louden Wainright, Joni Mitchell – lots of American movies and the novels of Kerovac and the wild poetry of Ginsberg and iconic places like San Luis Obispo and Big Sur, as described by Richard Brautigan.
In Clare Scott’s wok I was with Walt Whitman once again on the open road, when he said – Your road I enter upon and look around. I believe you are not all that is here. I believe that much unseen is also here. The small canvases in warm frames touch the loneliness of single beds, one coffee cup, a partial face in a rear view mirror, the top of a head beneath a giant tree, bare blitzed trees, wrecks of cars, bleached out places, warm sterile desolate images and the word RAGE appears once. Then, you notice the technique, the clever references to the artist in many of the paintings. Scott, on number plates, on signs, on cars, on menu boards and the quirky sense of humour with Bart Simpson turning his arse to the viewer – eat my art – You enjoy a Swollen Hand near a Dinosaur Footprint.
Even in small pieces there is the image of a mirror in another surface like a desire for order, for sequence, for significance like condiment pots and ketchup bottles in a neat row. Clutter has a place, nothing is wasted. The landscapes are most interesting in the foreground than in the panorama. The shiny floor of the deserted Laundromat reflects the sense of detail as if the artist will discover the bigger picture through the ordinary and the mundane and then you come to Mojave Desert (Roadside Shrine) and the concrete angel has a downcast sulky face.
This Road Trip is well worth the journey.
Maura O’Connor, a Tenderloin poet, wrote in Gravity – There are things I know; trees don’t sing, birds don’t sprout leaves, the sky never turns to wine. Well, in Clare Scott’s