Clare Dubina is a Melbourne based artist working across multiple mediums, exploring the female figurative theme in various ways influenced by the negative spaces, curved lines, viewpoints, gestures and postures. Born in 1977 to a British mother and a Sri Lankan father, Clare graduated with a BFA from The University of The Arts in 2001, and only recently embarked on her art career in 2020.
Tell us about the pieces you’ve created for Merci Maison?
These three pieces are from my continuing ‘Form’ series, using mixed mediums of acrylic, ink and modelling paste.
How did you draw inspiration for these pieces? Did the shape of the Bello Frame have any influence?
My inspiration for these pieces is loosely inspired by the negative spaces created by the female body. Whilst the shape of the Bello Frame does have a suggestive feminine look to it, it was the white finish that inspired the chosen colour pallets. I was aiming for the curves of the frame to compliment the painting and work together as one in a true collaboration, instead of being two separate entities.
When creating these pieces, where do you visualise your pieces ending up? Paint the picture of the room you see them in.
I can see them in a really eclectic room, perhaps part of a full gallery wall displaywith either a really bold jewel toned painted wall or a patterned wall paper. Definitely something with mid-century vibes to it, but with a touch of bohemian. This house is certainly not afraid of colour or mixing patterns!
How do you prepare for a new project or piece?
I’m currently fine tuning a new series of paintings, which didn’t come to me as easily as the last one. I tend to sit with a few sketch books and just draw without editing or hesitation and let it evolve with each page. If I overthink as I’m drawing, I lose the organic markings and shapes my hands naturally want to create.
Can you talk us through your creative process and how you developed your signature style?
I suppose my style originally developed 20 years ago at uni when I focused my senior thesis of work on the female body. It wasn’t until April 2020 that I revisited those sketch books to pick up where I left off, with the hopes of carving out a career as an artist. At the moment it’s important to me to have each series inspire the next, even if it’s the texture of a painting influencing the surface of a sculpture and vice versa. With my paintings, I plan ahead with sketches and pretty much know the colour pallet I am going to use, but my clay works are created intuitively. My formative years studying Printmaking has undoubtedly shaped the way I break elements down into fragments and also to appreciate the importance of surface treatment- I love the tactile quality of anything and everything, and easily become side tracked running my fingertips over plant leaves and book covers.
Where do you look for inspiration? Are there any artists or muses that have had a particular influence on your work?
The female body is an endless source of inspiration, so ideas are constantly forming from that alone!
I admire Edward Weston and Bill Brandt for the way they capture simplicity in complex forms, and also the unexpected colour combinations and layering within the works of Serge Poliakoff.
Who or what are your greatest design influences?
I adore The Design Files for their ability to highlight creatives from different walks of life and levels of experience across a variety of industries.
Tell us about your studio, what does your studio look like, sound like, smell like?
My studio is a daylight filled 3m x 4m space within an old warehouse in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. Although there are about 15 curtained off spaces for people in varied creative fields, it’s a very quiet and comforting place to spend my day. As much as I’d love to make it homier, it’s most likely going to stay in the practical state of white walls and bare concrete floors! On warmer days it can smell a bit like a musty tin shed, so I’ve been scattering a few drops of Addition Studio ‘Blue Gum & Lemon Myrtle’ essential oil around the edges.
What creates the perfect space for you?
Being surrounded by things collected from memorable trips or gifted pieces from loved ones truly make a space perfect. There is something special about that additional way of storytelling within a home that no one else knows just from the visuals, but they are there for the curious to go deeper and learn more about you.
If you could design your dream home, what would it look like?
I’d happily live in any house designed by Alistair Knox in the 70’s; the earthy tones of bricks, tiles and wood bathed in natural light, layered textures within the soft furnishings and rugs….and a sunken lounge with a plush brown velvet couch if I’m getting everything on my wish list! An art collection and an abundance of plants are a must, along with a good mix of table and floor lamps.
Where in your home do you go to think, create or be inspired?
I tend to do most of my thinking and planning right before I’m about to fall asleep. I don’t have a specific spot for inspiration; however, I did walk into my home studio the other day to check on some drying clay vases, and the morning sun was creating some really beautiful shadows of them which cleared my artists block and inspired the new series! This is prime example of how the evolution of my art happens within its own narrative.
Merci Maison is “Thank you, Home” in French, what would you say you are most grateful for you in your home / creative space?
In my home, I am most grateful for the two little (dog) faces that greet me every day at the window with unconditional love- no matter if I’ve been gone 5 minutes or 5 hours.
In my creative space, I am most grateful to the strangers, loved ones, peers and new connections that have supported and invested in my art to enable me to even have a creative space! These people are the reason I finally feel at home within myself, andam able to walk into my home at the end of each day in pure happiness.
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