Opening to the public on the 13th February Flowers Gallery is pleased to exhibit new paintings and monotypes by Claerwen James. James painted during her undergraduate degree in Zoology at Oxford University, she took a Ph.D but accepted that painting, not science, was really the focus of her creative life. James retrained at Slade School of Fine Art, graduating from the painting department in 2003 with a first class degree and winning the Melvill Nettleship Prize for Figure Composition.
All of the portraits in her new works originated as photographs: some scavenged, some taken by the artist, who believes that the awkwardness of the photographic moment is crucial to the painful, elegiac quality of the paintings. Her work stands at a deliberate distance to the moments it explores.
In 2006, Francis Spufford wrote that Claerwen James' subject matter is, in a sense, the photographic moment, when a point in time is snatched from the flow, "sealed into stillness and set in strange relationship to the continued life. . . which we do not see in photographs but which they always imply, giving the medium its mortal edge."
Born in 1970, Claerwen James has a BA Hons in Zoology from New College Oxford, she then did postgraduate research on the molecular biology of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the Biochemistry of the Cell Nucleus Laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, and completed a Ph.D. in Cell Biology, University of London. She has been represented by Flowers Gallery since 2004, having solo shows in London in 2006, 2008 and 2010.