Artist Claire Briggs is from upstate New York that is the home of Suny New Paltz. Many artists who come from that region possess craft skills akin to metal working and pottery, for instance. Claire Briggs brings to us the art of crochet, a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a patterned fabric by looping yarn with a hooked needle.
Asked where she learned to crochet and Claire said that it was a friend who taught her, and not her mother or grandmother that would be a typical source. Her acquiring that skill was purposeful.
Her art focus for this exhibit was executed with a good deal of investment in time and materials to use the medium to address a complex behavior that is “coping”. Coping is dealing with something difficult such as a personal loss of a relative or friend. It can also mean coping with life's’ circumstances however they manifest in difficulties that demand a response.
Coping is a personal process in dealing with difficult circumstances, and as an artist, Claire employs some familiar elements: color, texture, words, and simple ideas. When an artist embarks on simplicity, they could be on the edge of being trite that would be something overused and unfresh.
However, she balances on the edge by demonstrating intensity in dealing with her subject, and by applying her personal selection and making decisions that organize her expression about it. This exhibit exposes her inner self and shares a spectrum of her lexicon.
Claire Briggs has an outgoing personality, and she expresses much self confidence. Standing against a backdrop of a tapestry of her work at Artisphere, I asked if there was one event in her life that caused her to address this subject. Her bubbly self turned serious in an instant, and she said in a monotone, “There were several events to which I responded.” Her change in mood said that this is a serious artist who is dealing with a sensitive subject with much sincerity.
“How does one cope with loss? What are some of the expressions that people tell themselves when they need support, understanding or help? #coping is a solo exhibition showcasing a series of crocheted wall hangings of common expressions that reflect the power of the words and the range of issues we cope with at any given moment.
WED JAN 8 – SAT MAR 15
1101 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209