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Winston Wächter Fine Art is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition with London-based sculptor Claire Partington. En Plein Air is a collection of mixed media ceramic figures caught in moments of poised relaxation and stoic posturing. Referencing traditional portraiture, Partington casts her characters in a contemporary light, where earbuds and beer cans become accessories of grandeur. Figures bear their status through borrowed imagery, crossing thresholds of culture and history to concretely define themselves. Partington showcases these characters regaining autonomy through appropriation and interpretation, curating their personality just as one dresses and poses for the perfect Instagram shot. She upends social dynamics and gender motifs to give power to our oftentimes unproductive relationship with materiality, suggesting a constructive way forward to wear our identities with pride.
Partington’s compositions recall the likes of Michelangelo and Manet, and her narratives draw upon folklore and myth. In exorcising themes from their initial context, Partington playfully mutates history like a story passed down from generation to generation. Rococo garments and pit bulls are placed together, signifying the same thing but existing as completely different mechanisms. The elements of her sculptures are malleable vessels full of meaning, waiting to be pried open and reassessed.
Claire Partington graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1995 with a 1st in Fine Art Sculpture and gained a Post Graduate qualification in Museum Studies in 2000. She started making ceramic works after attending night school classes in 2005. Her work features in notable international collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of London, Seattle Art Museum, Ömer Koç Collection, Istanbul and the Reyden Weiss Collection in Germany. She was the recipient of the Virginia A Groot award in 2018, and the same year exhibited an important large-scale commission ‘Taking Tea’ at Seattle Art Museum.