Art in America October 22, 2009
San Francisco-based artist, filmmaker and musician Clare E. Rojas spins allegorical tales in intimate paintings, large-scale murals and installations. Deriving motifs from quilts, Russian nesting dolls and Native American art, these works combine geometric patterns, personal iconography and folkloric tableaux. They often depict powerful women in tune with the forces of nature, set alongside a small cast of lowly male figures out of sync with earthly rhythms.
In Rojas’s recent Chicago show, this vision unfolded in almost 40 works, including discrete paintings as well as others placed within installations—complete with painted backdrops and decorative molding—suggestive of domestic interiors and private worlds. In the gouache-on-paper Untitled (Girl with Phoenix), 2009, a woman stands in profile with a phoenix in her hand, while both the sun and moon rise above her. A flowerlike orb replaces her head, and various star and leaf shapes grace the work’s stark, shallow space.