Clare Peake in her studioTrace, Marker, Record, Line

Clare Peake by Anna Dunnill

Clare Peake describes the process of mapping as both a record of the past, and a potential for the future. Her practice is concerned with the point in between, the point at which the past becomes the future, how that occurs, and why. With elegant, considered work that moves between drawing and sculpture, Clare has emerged as a clear and resonant voice in Perth’s artistic conversation.

Clare is represented by Venn Gallery, where she held a solo exhibition last year, Comprehension of the Farthest Points. She has also exhibited at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Art Gallery of Western Australia (where her 2011 work Rumours of Strange is held in the state collection), and at Lawrence Wilson Gallery where she was part of Here&Now12. Most recently, she exhibited at Adelaide’s Hugo Michell Gallery in WIN/WIN, curated by Richard Lewer, with fellow Perth artists Teelah George and Shannon Lyons.

Clare’s installation for WIN/WIN, titled Dust, consists of one drawing and a group of small floor sculptures. Using leftover materials and unfinished studio works, her sensitive, poised constructions investigate the process of developing ideas, looking back at significant moments in art history and culture, pinpointing shifts in focus and perspective. As Clare explains, “ …[it also] became about the frustration of trying to make new work and come up with new ideas; and how [to] mark a point of progression, or some moment of progress.”

The process of erasure and remaking, deconstruction and rebuilding, is significant in Clare’s practice. The works in her 2013 solo exhibition were made from old visual diaries, pulped and reshaped into vessels and forms, and pressed into paper for drawings. She describes her graphite drawing in WIN/WIN as having been, “…drawn and erased, drawn and erased, drawn and erased…a trace, a marker, a record of something.”

Clare Peake, Dust, 2014. Studio remnants, dimensions variable. Image: Eva FernandezThere is a constant back and forth between past and future.

Sometimes resembling rock formations or geometry, sometimes a scattering of graphite dust, Clare’s drawings are ambiguous in scale, “…not necessarily a micro or macro image – it’s something in between, or could be either.” The same applies to her installations. Whether using clay or glass, papier-mâché or metal, Clare’s sculptures are generally small, reflecting the size and impact of her own body and hands, but multiplied, scattered across a surface, each contributing to the meaning of the next, like words in a poem. Her clusters of objects hum in conversation with one another.
“I like this idea that you can’t use things singularly,” she says. “Nothing exists in isolation so you get a span of things, or multiple sources of information coming together.”

Tracing histories, pushing towards the future, Clare Peake’s practice encompasses her idea of progress being a series of things, rather than one specific magic moment. Indeed, progress is evidently fluid, reversible and metamorphic: a drawing can become a sculpture, a mark can be a speck of dust or a distant point on the horizon. In terms of her own progress, the next marker for Clare is the Venn Summer Show followed by a lot of time in the studio to pursue new ideas, new horizons.


Anna Dunnill is an artist and writer from Perth.

The article featured in the Artsource Newsletter, Summer 2014/15