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Clare Phelan


Clare works directly with nineteenth and early twentieth century coding technology artefacts such as textile jacquards, musical box discs and IBM punch cards.  These materials have presence and history.  Faded and sometimes fragile, often rusted, warped, ripped and torn, they are a sensual delight and are the ancestors of our digital world.

Old music box discs become Clare's etching plates and, as found objects, they partially dictate the final outcome of the work.  She doesn't work with a blank canvas or have preconceived ideas about the finished piece.  The outcome evolves through multiple stages as she embraces a growing relationship with the disc and chance happenings in the printmaking process.

Cyber culture theory and the concept of "cultural lag" in our understanding of advancing technology inform Clare's work.  It's easy to feel fear, frustration and a sense of being left behind as our lives become increasingly mediated through machines.

"......things get faster, smaller, more useful, more user-friendly and this is a good thing - or so one particular type of storytelling says.  Other stories, less often told, reveal the trials, the resistances, the accommodations and negotiations involved in living with new technologies" (David Bell, 2007).

Following MA Visual Art (distinction) studies in 2013, Clare established her printmaking studio in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, where she also lives.  She was shortlisted for the Flourish Award for Excellence in printmaking 2017 and won the peoples' choice prize.  She is also shortlisted for the Scott Creative Art Foundation Emerging Artist Award 2019.

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