Clare Grill’s Untranslatable Paint

Clare Grill, “Finch” (2020), oil on linen, 35 x 42 inches (all images courtesy the artist and Derek Eller Gallery, NY. Photos by Adam Reich)

Today is the last day of Clare Grill: There’s the Air at Derek Eller Gallery, the artist’s exhibition. I strongly recommend everyone go and see it. Together, the nine oil paintings of varying sizes and the five similarly sized works on paper add up to a quietly powerful — and powerfully quiet — gathering. 

In a time when the art world prizes easily digestible content and flamboyant, expensive gestures, Grill’s resistance to discursive language, well-known critical tropes, the influence of social media, and reductive explication is practically heroic. Her faith in painting — I don’t know what else to call it — means that she is committed to making abstract paintings that cannot be simply or effortlessly translated into meaningful sound bites. She believes in paint’s capacity to conjure unnamable states and feelings.

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