Artist of the Month 2017

May: Clare Thornton

Image: Clare Thornton, Corridors, Stairways & Corners. Photo: Justin Yockney.

Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. May's Artist of the Month is Clare Thornton.


Hello, what do you do?

I tend to explore ideas, things and places through sculptural forms and malleable materials (and I include my body in this mix). My process is interdisciplinary, never sitting neatly in one media. For instance last week I was hand-building with clay, sewing leather, intaglio printing and writing.


Where are you based and how long have you been there?

I have a studio at KARST Projects Plymouth. I joined as soon as we moved to the Ocean City in June 2015. Personally I've found it a wonderfully supportive place to make work. Good peer critique, hilarious banter and pretty damn fine exhibition programme in the gallery. OK I'm slightly biased, but it was a bloody good move for me....


What does 'success' mean to you?

For me the notion of success is problematic, wrapped up in status, money and satisfaction. But if I were to apply it to a piece of my work it might feel ‘successful’ to me when I experience something akin to contentment. This is rare, mind you.


Do you earn a living from making art? If not, or only partially, what else do you do?

Partially. I have earned income from commissions, grants and awards from trusts and the Arts Council, selling my art work/publications and topping up with teaching and artist mentoring (which I really enjoy a lot).


What makes a good artwork?

For me when I encounter a ‘good’ artwork there will be a kind of electric charge sparking in my belly and brain. A ‘good’ piece of work has the power to engage both physically and cerebrally.


What have you been up to recently?

I’ve recently shown work in Beyond the Fatigued Eye, a programme curated by Phil Owen celebrating work inspired by Arnolfini’s performance archive. The exhibition featured a new iteration of my bookwork Corridors, Stairways & Corners. I also have an essay, co-authored with Emma Cocker, published in Fall Narratives: An interdsciplinary Perspective (Routledge) which came out earlier this year. And I currently have some new ceramic work on display in Gallery 333, Exeter Phoenix.


What have you got coming up?

I’ll be showing some sculpture and print work alongside Molly Rooke, Beth Emily Richards and Rosie King in ‘Sister City’ at TOPOS during Exeter Art Week. We had such a positive experience presenting ‘Sister Sister’ during PAW16 that we decided to regroup (minus Low Profile this year sadly, but those chicks are super busy). I’m also really thrilled to be working with Plymouth Art Centre towards a solo show in December. The exhibition will feature both new and existing works and if all goes to plan, a new publication.



Birmingham born, Glasgow trained, Plymouth based. Clare has shown her work extensively as a solo artist through residencies and exhibitions including Galleri GUN (Oslo) and Kurant Visningsrom (Tromsø), Oriel Myrddin, (Carmarthen) and University of Bristol Theatre Collection but also in on-going cross-disciplinary collaborations with Emma Cocker, Jan Steinum (Norway) and the Performance Re-enactment Society, which she co-founded in 2007 for investigating the problems and potential of performance and its documents with projects shown at Arnolfini, Spike Island (Bristol), FlatTimeHouse, South London Gallery (London), Gagosian Gallery (New York).


What's On

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Linda Brothwell Conversations in Making

Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE

Friday 24 May 2019 – Sunday 24 November 2019

Exeter's Fine Art Collection: A Sense of Place

Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3RX

Tuesday 18 June 2019 – Sunday 15 March 2020

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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