The Overachievers

by Clare Grill

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Artist Statement

 

I didn't dare eat candy during Lent because the saints were watching. Our old house was haunted—our dad said so. We imagined a wolf roamed our neighborhood because it was fun to be scared. I thought our family was ideal. I believed in Santa until I was 13. I clung tightly to the things I was taught, my heavy cloaks of security. Like most, I've unraveled them slowly and steadily, being careful not to rip out all the seams through the years. I think about the beliefs and stories that were handed down to me and I reinterpret them in my paintings. Family folklore, backyard rituals, religious sacraments, ghost stories, church, school, obedience and trust-in-what-you're-told are among my subjects. The things we're taught can be learned a thousand different ways. I like for the familiar to seem a little unfamiliar and complicated, because it is. I look at images from the past as I work because they're heartbreaking and so haunting—what was never can be again. I mess with my imagery, layering and wearing it away until I've made a painting that makes you notice the paint as much as the pictures.

 

Clare Grill

 

Clare Grill was born in the suburbs of Chicago in 1979. She has an MFA from Pratt Institute. Grill has shown her work at the Bronx Museum, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Sloan Fine Art, Caren Golden Fine Art and Real Art Ways. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the San Francisco Chronicle and was on the back cover of New American Paintings Vol. 68. Clare has participated in the Drawing Center's Viewing Program, Aljira's Emerge program, Vermont Studio Center's residency program and the Bronx Museum's Artist in the Marketplace program. She lives and works in Queens.

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