Grim’s Ditch

Clare Woods (1972 - )

Enamel and oil on aluminium


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© Clare Woods

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Against a glossy dark background of bare branches and tangled undergrowth, a muddy brown ditch channels its way forward, leading the eye into unknown and unsettling territory. Grim’s Ditch (in actual fact the name of an earthwork running across three counties in Southern England) is depicted in Clare Woods’ painting as an uncultivated and neglected place in which nature has been left to run rampant. This strange, slightly eerie image is based on a series of photographs that Woods took looking at: 

    … green lanes and drovers roads. I am interested in the layered history of Britain and the green lanes and drovers roads offer us an insight to the structure of our infrastructure today. The movement of people and livestock from one end of the country to the other is fascinating and the path of these roads was totally dependent on the original landscape so they are for me a link to an earlier time when the UK looked very different.

    Woods creates her paintings through a painstaking process of building up layers of enamel paint on a surface, in which the act of painting is as important as the subject matter. Grim’s Ditch is one of many of her paintings that visually evoke the mystery and drama of several major English landscape painters, notably John Piper, Paul Nash and Samuel Palmer. 

  • About the artist
    Clare Woods was born in Southampton. She completed a BA at Bath College in Bath (1991–94) followed by an MA at Goldsmith’s College in London (1997–99). She has exhibited widely since 2000 including solo shows in London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Athens and New York. Woods has produced several public commissioned works in the UK and abroad. In 2010, two large-scale permanent works, 'Carpenter’s Curve' and 'Brick Field', were commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society for the London 2012 Olympic Park. In 2014, she completed a permanent commission, 'The Perseverance (Unholdenhed)' for the VIA University in Aarhus, Denmark; and in 2019, eleven tiled panels for a site-specific commission in River Bend, Dallas, USA. Woods’ work is represented in public collections including British Council, London; Valencia Arte Contemporáneo, (VAC), Valencia, Spain; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA.
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  • Details
    Grim’s Ditch
    Enamel and oil on aluminium
    height: 182.50 cm, width: 127.00 cm
    Purchased from the New Art Centre, July 2010
    signed, dated and inscribed verso tl
    New Art Centre, Salisbury
    GAC number