Interpretive Landscapes – Insights from Artist Claire Bigbee on her 2021 Show

“The only difference between representational painting and abstract painting is that the subject plays a more recessive role in abstract work. The visual aesthetic is the dominant force, not the narrative. Abstract work, above all, celebrates the aesthetic over the recognizable “nameable” subject.” – Mitchell Albala.

Words from Artist Claire Bigbee on Interpretive Landscapes…

“My 2021 show is a collection of paintings that are my interpretations inspired by nature filled with abstract shapes, movement, and patterns.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, two artists, Peter Paul Ruben’s and Tiepolo moved away from a value-based painting system. Rather than using light and dark to create form, they started spreading light onto the canvas using more bright and dull colors to depict form. Tiepolo juxtaposed two colors of equal intensity side by side, using one for light and one for shadow. The equanimity of using color creates energy or vibration that drives the eye all around the composition. Rather than using small brush strokes, I use bigger chunks of color expressing form more like an elastic or, as Hans Hoffman referred to in his theory of plasticity. The color relationships create depth a certain flatness versus modeling color through value.

In college, I was fascinated by my 2D design class and color theory assignments. We would cut up one-inch squares of Pantone color chips and place them on a different colored background. The purpose of this was to demonstrate how to use the two smaller squares of the same color. You can optically change that color, value, or saturation of the chip by the field of color behind it.

Many of these paintings are about those juxtapositions of playing with color modules. I use color to create form rather than value and line. Tiepolo bent the laws of nature to fit the laws of art. My brushwork isn’t hidden in carefully blended color transitions. It’s explosive. I put a color on my palette knife and fan it over the painting to find the right color harmonies. The painting acts as a stand-between me and nature and the viewer.

The painting shares that internal vibrance I feel from memory. We all know what a sunrise or sunset looks like. These paintings are my emotional and spiritual interpretations of those views.”

To see all available work from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To read more insights from Claire Bigbee, click the link below.
To see Bigbee’s 2021  Show, Click the link below