Contemporary photographer Clare Strand creates fine art portraiture and still life works in which her imagery explores conceptual illusion and theatrical subject matter, bringing ambiguity in an experimental way. Strand features her work in galleries internationally where she has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Strand’s work largely works with black and white photography and explores form in an unusual sense that keeps the viewer guessing.
Her series ‘Skirts’ (2011) sees a collection of imagery displaying clothed tables standing before a large curtain backdrop. These images are silent as there is no one present but the object. There is a sense of presence but at the same time, absence as the viewer is unaware that there could be something or someone underneath the table cloth’s skirt. I find this imagery can make one feel as if we are viewing a disappearance act as the setting strongly refers to activities of the magic entertainment industry. It is almost as if Strand has just made something disappear but is keeping it secret as magicians are usually known to do this. In the series, Strand photographs tables of different lengths and shapes and also switches from black to white table cloths, giving variety in tonal contrast.
Other works by Strand include a collection ‘Flatland/Spaceland’ (2012) consisting of three dimensional shapes constructed from photographic paper materials in which each shape uses paper with different exposures. In this series, Strand refers to the exposure or colour chart. Her works featuring people are particularly experimental with form and illusion in which one of her images ‘Aerial Suspension’ (2009) sees a woman ‘floating’ loosely in the air. This image echoes the work of Sam Taylor Johnson as we see a physical form in a position that is immortal in a sense. I find Strand is very playful in how she explores geometrical forms found in objects and she also presents a strong theatricality in narrative. I find this influential towards my practice as this gives me more insight into observing objects as ornaments and this is useful in presenting further conceptual ideas in theme.
Clare Strand All rights reserved (2016) ‘Works/About and Contact‘[Online] Available from: http://www.clarestrand.co.uk (Accessed 18/03/2016)