Claire Pendrigh, Ocean, Village, River, Forest, 2019, gouache on rice paper, 45 x 100 cm

Claire Pendrigh, Forest, Jungle, Lake, Forest, 2019, gouache on rice paper, 45 x 100 cm


I have just arrived back home in Tasmania after 6 weeks away doing an artist residency at the beautiful Tiapapata Arts Centre in Samoa!

The residency was an amazing opportunity to develop new work, influenced by the bright colours and patterns of these fascinating islands. I was also invited to create a hanging mobile, purpose built for the high ceilings of the Tiapapata Arts Centre’s gallery space.

We finished the residency with an exhibition of my work and work by students from the various art classes that I ran during the residency.

The patterns and designs in these works will form the basis for a body of work that I’ll continue to develop back home in Australia.

Claire Pendrigh, Tiapapata Mobile, 2019, wood, coconut sennit and watercolour on rice paper

Blue Dot: Exhibition Opening

I’m excited to invite you to the opening of my exhibition

Blue Dot
5:30pm, Thurs 28 Jun
at the School House Gallery at Rosny Farm, Tasmania

Look up – or should we say out. We inhabit a thin slice. Beneath us are layers of soil, sand, rock and magma; and above us, layers less visible radiate out from our sphere of heavier, terrestrial elements.

The nestled spheres of our atmosphere are home to the clouds.

The mobiles hanging in the School House Gallery are an invitation to cloud-gaze. The circles of sky drift gently, stirred by a breeze from an open window.

These “cloud portraits” belong to Hobart. Clouds are the movement of air and water made visible, and Hobart’s cloudscapes are distinctly shaped by its geography: the mountain, the river, the sea, the city. Nothing operates in isolation.

Beyond the clouds the sky looks blue, and if you get far enough out and look back, the planet looks blue too. A pale blue dot, precious and extraordinary, suspended in space.

Clouds of a Chaotic Sky – Exhibition at Salamanca Arts Centre

OFFICIAL OPENING: 6pm Friday 5 January 2018
EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 6 – Monday 22 January 2018, open 10am – 4pm daily
SIDE SPACE GALLERY Salamanca Arts Centre

Lie on your back and observe the shapes drifting through the sky. Imagine the weight of the billions of droplets of water suspended – a blanket, saturated and heavy, slipping between forms, amorphous and ever changing. Claire Pendrigh’s exhibition Clouds of a Chaotic Sky is an exploration of the sublime, ephemeral beauty of clouds.

Join us for the exhibition opening, with opening remarks from Simon McCulloch – ABC’s 7pm weather presenter in Tasmania and senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology.

Read more at: www.salarts.org.au/event/clouds-of-a-chaotic-sky

This exhibition is supported by Salamanca Arts Centre.

A Sign in Space

Some Stars Wobble is on show at Sawtooth ARI Gallery in Launceston until 24 June.

In astronomy, a wobbling star indicates an orbiting object – the gravity of each object affecting the orbital path of the other.

For this body of work I decided to imagine what it would look like if I could trace my path through space, creating a line the followed me round and round; as the globe spins on its axis, as the Earth orbits the sun, as the solar system revolves, slowly, around the centre of the galaxy. I quickly discovered that this is a more complicated mental exercise than I had anticipated.

You can see all the artworks on my website at www.clairependrigh.com.

I also thought that I might do a couple of posts about individual works in the show, here on my blog – starting with this series of tiny paintings, A Sign in Space.

Claire Pendrigh, A Sign in Space (series), 2017, oil on board

This series of paintings takes its title from a story by Italo Calvino, from his volume of “Cosmicomics”. Each story in this collection begins with some kind of scientific hypothesis, followed by a first person narrative recounted by the unpronounceable but irrepressible protagonist, Qfwfq.

In “A Sign in Space”, Qfwfq explains how he once decided to time how long it takes the Earth to complete one revolution of the Milky Way, by creating a sign in space. He leans out over the edge of the galaxy and finds a spot that is undisturbed by the whirling orbit of worlds within, and places his sign. Then he waits.

“So as the planets continued their revolutions, and the solar system went on in its own, I soon left the sign far behind me, separated from it by the endless fields of space. And I couldn’t help thinking about when I would come back and encounter it again, and how I would know it, and how happy it would make me, in that anonymous expanse, after I had spent a hundred thousand light-years without meeting anything familiar, nothing for hundreds of centuries, for thousands of millennia; I’d come back and there it would be in its place, just as I had left it, simple and bare, but with that unmistakable imprint, so to speak, that I had given it.” – Italo Calvino, “The Complete Cosmcomics; A Sign In Space”

In case you are wondering, it takes about 250 million years.

As our protagonist searches the outer reaches of the galaxy for his sign, he starts to worry. What if, after all this time, he can’t remember what his sign looks like? What if he passes it and doesn’t recognise it at all! I imagine his inner voice saying “Is it here? No, over here? I’m sure I passed by here before. It must be just around this corner.”

The need to place himself in the universe, with an identifying mark, becomes an obsession; one that I, and I’m sure many artists, can relate to. It’s the need to create a thing, that exists beyond yourself, that acts as a reference point, that you, and others, can look back on as proof of your existence in that space and that time. I was here.

The clusters of stars in this little series of paintings are based on real “globular clusters”. Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars, tightly bound together by gravity, found in the halos of galaxies (right near the edge). The stars in these clusters are extremely old, perhaps some of the first to have formed in the galaxy.

I like to imagine that these clusters could act as useful landmarks if you were searching the boundary of the galaxy for a sign you had left there. Unfortunately for Qfwfq, it is very hard to measure anything in a universe in which nothing stays still.

Some Stars Wobble

Some Stars Wobble opens 6pm Friday 2 June at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston, Tasmania.

Here on the Earth we are never still. Imagine drawing a line in space that traces your location as you go round and round, as the globe spins on its axis, as the Earth orbits the sun, as the solar system revolves, slowly, around the centre of the galaxy. The hanging mobiles, installations and paintings exhibited in Some Stars Wobble examine the complex balance of a shared existence in the universe.

There are also three other exciting exhibitions opening at Sawtooth ARI on 2 June, check their website for full details.

Opening 6pm Friday 2 June
Exhibition runs 1 June – 24 June

Sawtooth ARI
Level , 160 Cimitiere St
Launceston Tasmania

Gallery Hours 
Wednesday to Friday 12 noon – 5 pm
Saturday 10 am – 2 pm

Shooting Stars

This story comes from Kristyn, an amazing force energy and enthusiasm whom I was lucky enough to meet in Berlin. The story is about the Leonids meteor shower, which occurs every year in mid November.

Meteor showers happen when Earth’s orbit crosses the path of a meteor. Meteors leave a trail of debris (bits of dust, ice and stone) behind them as they travel on their own orbits. When these bits of debris hit our atmosphere they burn up and we see them shoot through the night sky as falling stars.

When the Earth crosses the path of a meteor that has only recently passed by, there are more bits of debris floating around, and therefore, more shooting stars. These heavy meteor showers are called meteor storms. After doing a little research, we discovered that the meteor shower of Kristyn’s story was probably the Leonids meteor storm of 1998.

This story is part of the Stargazers project for which I am collecting stories about stars. If you have a story that you would like to share with me then please get in touch!

Music: Alaupas


Star Gazing

Claire Pendrigh, Stargazing (Perseid Meteor Shower), 2016, still from digital animation

We are all made from star stuff, so is it really that surprising that so many of us look to the night sky and feel some kind of connection?

Everyone has access to the night sky, it can not be owned, annexed or restricted to a select few. Anyone can be a stargazer.

The points of light we see in the night sky are the centre of a great many stories; stories of culture, navigation, exploration, science, history and understanding. They have been used to pass on legends, moral tales, cultural histories, navigational routes, and scientific theories. They are bestowed with personal significance for individuals and groups of people.

Gazing into the cosmos reminds us that our existence is small. We share this tiny planet, surrounded by the infinite expanse of our universe. But our stories are important. They locate us within this expanse, and present a framework by which we can analyse and understand this position.

Stargazers is a project in which I hope to collect many stories about stars, and use them to create short animated works. These stories may encompass a wide variety of contexts including scientific, cultural, navigational, personal, anecdotal and historical, but they will all pertain to a specific point of light (or constellation) in the night sky. Ultimately, the stories will be linked together by a navigable sky map.

I am currently on the look out for stories and narrators! If you would like to get involved then please contact me. I am interested to hear all types of stories about stars, astronomical bodies, constellations etc. If your story is a good fit for the project then I will ask you to narrate it for me and email me the audio. I will then make a painting and an animation for your story.

Star Stuff

Claire Pendrigh, Star Stuff (Omega Nebula), 2016, still from digital animation

Tea Seas at BRAG

exhibition opening 4

Tea Seas, a body of work created during my recent artist residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan, is now on display at Bunbury Regional Art Galleries (BRAG). It is wonderfully refreshing to be able to exhibit in the same town that I live in for the first time in a long while!

I would like to send a huge thanks to all the staff at BRAG for their involvement, and to Sharon Kennedy for opening the exhibition.

Tea Seas uses imagery of a primordial sea contained in a teacup. Taking their cues from the Japanese tea ceremony, these artworks follow a ritualistic process of repetition and restraint. The paintings, drawings and animation work exhibited use traditional Japanese pigments on rice paper to explore our own biology and evolution.

Photographs by Taj Kemp.

exhibition opening

Tea Seas at Studio Kura


Here are some photos from the opening of “Tea Seas” at Studio Kura in March 2015. It was such a lovely event, filled with smiles, children, and yummy onigiri!

Thank you to all the wonderful people at Studio Kura, especially my lovely fellow artists, for the time I’ve spent here. I feel so lucky to have met you all and to have enjoyed your company for the two months of my residency.

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