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John Clare

Born in Widnes, Lancashire, Clare has had an eclectic career in music, psychoanalysis and painting. His work encompasses notions of the self, memory and loss. Like the dream, it is a potential space in which to explore both inner and outer reality. He sees painting as being, like music, an emotional language which cannot be translated into words. Just as we remember a dream but cannot think how we created it, similarly paintings emerge which surprise us. It is this otherness which his work tries to capture. The process is one of abandoning any attempt to get somewhere. A relaxation of consciousness means you can stop thinking and are then free to play and create. 

Jazz and psychoanalysis form a backdrop to his work. As a psychotherapist he has written on Samuel Beckett and is also the author of a book on dreaming and the socio-cultural world. In London, he founded the black music enterprise ‘Honest Jon’s Records’ and on the Boplicity label he issued artists such as Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

Jazz spontaneity, the dream space, marks on canvas. The subject which then emerges acts as the bait to catch the unconscious connections. An image which comes from the unconscious has a potency and energy. This is the attempt to capture the metaphysical and emotional intensity of reality. It’s not just what you do but how you do it that makes something come alive.




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