Experimentation, exploration and the journey of the process are often at the core of art making. Clare Burnett’s sculptural practice perfectly captures this commitment and the joy of the unexpected. As the artist describes she likes to ‘prune rather than seed’. The artist immerses herself in the quest for utilizing found objects and combining disparate materials including wood, Jesmonite, steel, pigment and brass. Her works investigate the objects and space that surrounds us, resulting in playful juxtapositions and placements that often reposition and upend expectations of the materials and objects she incorporates. Her unique configurations often give the works an anthropomorphic quality, imbuing each piece with a sense of character and presence. By carefully curating these objects in engaging arrangements, the artist explores how we inhabit space and conveys the sense of a sculptural conversation and dialogue. Having previously studied Architecture at Cambridge University, this formal training can be seen in her minimalist and modernist approach to form and line. Clare also embarks on large-scale public sculptures (she recently completed a commission for Hengshui Sculpture Park in China), and here we see her explorations of scale and how the forms she creates can translate from the micro to macro, encouraging the viewer to consider how we inhabit space, and perhaps more philosophically our place in the world. Her studio acts as a melting-pot for her collections of objects sourced around the world, from markets, scrap yards and discarded items found on the street. What brings these diverse materials together so effectively is the artist’s strong influence and control of line and form, with a playful injection of vibrant colour. This engaging collection of works addresses head-on the complicated and pressing issue of global consumerism and its effect on the environment. They also demonstrate the sheer joy and delight in the discovery of life’s detritus and how this can be reworked and rejuvenated into sublime sculptures that embody the mysteries and hidden depths of our surroundings and our place in it.
Clare Burnett is the President of the Royal Society of Sculptors. Clare studied Architecture and Social and Political Studies at Cambridge University and Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art. Solo and group shows include Leighton House Museum; William Benington Gallery; the University of Leeds; Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer; The Royal Academy; The National Gallery; The Jerwood Space, the RIBA; The Royal Society of Sculptors; Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum in Taiwan, Brooke Benington and Studio Block M74 in Mexico; Unit One Gallery and Workshop, London. She has completed site-specific installations in spaces such as Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation, France; Brompton and Norwood Cemeteries and Bishopsgate Square in London. In 2019 her first public sculpture was installed in China at the Hengshui Sculpture Park.