photo by Nate Gowdy


Claire Brandt’s work has been shown in Seattle, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington D.C.. Brandt has been awarded residencies at the Horse and Art Research Program, Jentel Arts Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center.  She was awarded a Creative Capacity Fund Grant in 2011. She received her A.B. in English and American Literature from Harvard and an MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. She was raised in Bellingham & Tacoma, Washington. 

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At its core, my work is about embodiment—what it feels like and what it means to be in a body. I am a figurative artist, I make life-sized paintings and drawings of humans and animals and objects. The meanings of those literal figures are multiple, and sometimes contradictory. And, an individual is more than the sum of his or her meanings.

I work in two modes:

  • Sets of two or more pieces with related figures, or related views of a single figure, that are meant to be seen together, but each piece can stand alone. The pieces are separate but interrelated.
  • Single works with an accumulation of figures. The accumulation creates a single whole, like a group of cells create a body or a group of letters creates a word.

In each mode, repetition and/or accumulation of figures creates relationships between the figures as well as a sense of movement. The life-size scale of my work confronts viewers with bodies. It challenges viewers to relate their own bodies to the work—to think about how their own body moves and feels.

I want viewers to think about how they relate to and understand my depicted figures viscerally and culturally. Culture gives us systems of generalizations (that are often predicated on a dominant power’s point of view) for understanding others. My work struggles against these reductive systems by showing individual beings as multiple and/or fragmented. These multiple/fragmented depictions are a direct challenge for viewers to see whole, multi-faceted individuals. In addition to cultural dictates, each person looking at my work brings his/her own point of view. Each person or animal I show is a whole being, not a creature defined by other viewpoints. This multiplicity of viewpoints is the energy in my work. The power of my work is in showing expressive bodies in a state of undeniable being.

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