Now on View: Photographer Claire Dunn Reflects on her Images in “The National”

Claire Dunn, Juried Artist in The National: Best Contemporary Photography

My name is Claire Dunn. I am a San Francisco-based artist, psychologist, curator, and a traveler. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I received my B.S. in Psychology at Universidad del Salvador (USAL). I am currently pursuing an M.F.A at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.

Image courtesy of Claire Dunn.

I allow my skin to have a song. The song of a plant, of a tree, of a dragon; the song of myself. These songs form part of a dialogue between the sky and the ground. As a psychologist, my practice in the field has brought me the ability to ask questions that awake more awareness than the ability to give answers. I think about the relationship between the human psyche and the metaphors of the natural world through multidisciplinary art.

Codex. Tree barks, broken mirrors, paper, resin, gold leaf, eucalyptus leaf, and pencil, 2022. Image courtesy of Claire Dunn.

Codex, above, contains a combination of my macro photographic documentations of patterns in nature and found broken mirrors, from the street, on different skins (barks) that were sewn together. The fragments of mirrors represent the people that we encounter in our journey and mirror different aspects of ourselves that we need to see and integrate. Some parts of the barks contain resin, and some parts don’t. The intention is to see how time and gravity will affect the piece within the “immortalized” aspects and with the organic natural areas. The work also reflects on how humans intervene their bodies to avoid natural aging, exploring the famous fear of death.

My work celebrates the ceremony of gravity. In this ceremony, I re-create nature’s code by picking up and bringing things together in a particular way. Engaged in the creation of form, I explore visual and conceptual possibilities through the lens of psychology and storytelling. Through this journey, I map my personal psyche; providing images that are the vehicles in which elements of our collective consciousness are embodied and explored, highlighting the beauty of the apparently insignificant and overlooked forms and patterns of nature, conjuring spirit to inert materials. The ephemerality of my mappings expose the dynamics of permanence and impermanence through the work–an alchemical process. Beautifying what is dead, I elevate it and give it a transition to another life. The final work is a result of a raw, experimental, and expressive performance.

Warrior Vest. Tree bark, string, wood, found objects, gold leaf, eucalyptus leaves, and resin, 2022.

Immersed in these natural cycles, such as the processes of decay and renewal, I pick up dead “skins” that are laying in the streets and give them another life, elevating them. The resin in some areas immortalizes time, while other sections will naturally decay.

Allowing for limitless experimentation, my work is not beholden to one medium, form, or location; even though my practice begins by grounding my own being in the place that I immerse myself in (living in California that can be a natural or urban environment), which contains unique qualities that affect changes within me and bring new insights. My work is a constellation of different materials and mediums; ranging from handmade sculptures and paintings to experimental photography, multimedia installation, and invented tools.

“Star dust and Earth dust” installation at “Now Way Out But Through”, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA. Curated by Elena Gross. Image courtesy of Claire Dunn.

This photogram series, “Earth Stars”, is an exploration of the conversions of earthly matter, DNA, and star constellations. They talk about Luminosity. Although they look like celestial bodies, they are a combination of my analog macro photographic documentations of patterns in nature, my own DNA (like my hair and saliva), and small broken mirrors that have my own fingerprints. These analog documentations of the different patterns of nature were taken in specific natural environments in California.

On these photograms, I carve unique dynamic abstract drawings with different tools.

New perspectives. Drawing on unique gelatine silver photogram print, 2022.

To see Dunn’s work in-person, visit FWMoA while The National: Best Contemporary Photography is on display, now through January 8th, 2023.

Want to learn more about the included artists? See our blog posts on the invited artists: Melanie Walker, Raymond Thompson Jr., Morgan Barrie, Jack Sharkey, Karen Klinedinst, Ian van Coller, and Jeanette May.

Leave a Reply

error: Right click disabled for copyright protection.
%d bloggers like this: