Mother Tongue: Claire Greenshaw

Claire Greenshaw:
Mother Tongue

Working from a feminist perspective and employing images and materials from daily life, Claire Greenshaw engages with the tensions that arise from the ambiguity of representation. She channels this into humorous and idiosyncratic poetic gestures that provoke questions around perception, the complexities of history and systems that create and enforce the values we live by.

Mother Tongue is an investigation into the nature of drawing as a primal gesture; ‘the mark’ as the seed of language, representation and symbolic order. Both a depiction, and a material surface of marks, a drawing can be a window and a site. This collection of drawings is the result of a laborious and time consuming approach, one that slows image making to a meditative pace in contrast with the speed and technological complexity of our daily engagement with mass produced and digital images. We count on such images to perform as residues to authenticate, and establish our histories, to place us in time, and yet representation is unstable. Interestingly, the mark, the swipe, the fingerprint- are gestures as timeless as the human body. Maybe the palimpsest of greasy fingerprints across the screens of our mobile phones is our most eternal art. Maybe the act of drawing untethers us from time, connecting to an enduring human habit.

Claire Greenshaw is a Toronto based artist who works in drawing, sculpture and photography. Greenshaw has shown in many group exhibitions across Canada, and internationally, including at Judith and Norman ALIX Art Gallery, Sarnia, ON, Neon, Brosarp, and The Royal Standard, Liverpool. Her solo exhibitions include Helen Pitt Artist Run Centre, Vancouver and The Khyber Arts Centre, Halifax and Mulherin Toronto. Greenshaw received an MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2009 and a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada in 2002. Greenshaw was co-creator, with Tony Romano, of Millions magazine from 2012-2014.

Clint Roenisch would like to thank Katherine Mulherin for her graciousness. Claire Greenshaw gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Toronto Arts Council.