The paintings, created using both acrylic and oil paints, are in constant motion. Layers are added over stretches of time and older details painted over; there are bursts of spontaneity and periods of long silence. Thus what emerges, is a topography of emotion over time. Theuse of oil sticks — a recent addition — adds a new staccato mark in the chaos of this organic landscape. Claudia Rega’s abstraction is always on the verge of nature, symbolic of its chaos, unpredictability and beauty. In this sense, her work shares a connection to Per Kirkeby: the interpretation of nature as abstraction. Also similar to Kirkeby, is the link to 19th century Romanticism. The human figure, as it appears in her work, is enfolded in nature and part of the sediment of living things, not separate from it.

With bold colour and gesture she explores the experience a child’s connection to the natural world. The Hammock, which appears in many of the paintings, acts as a bridge — a man-made device that connects the girls to their organic surroundings. Rega says: “Since I was a girl, I experienced a sense of helplessness being described by others. The attributes they ascribed to me represented the world of others, a constriction I was forced to fit into.” These paintings represent a fantasy of freedom where rules and limitations no longer apply.

Amrita Dhillon


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