Claire Oswalt

When I was about eight years old I spent a long and humid summer obsessed with the idea that I would one day be a fashion designer. Constructing an army of paper dolls with movable joints (courtesy of pewter brads) and an array of “stylish” paper clothes and accessories, I was convinced I would be the next big thing (I believe this is referred to as the ignorance of youth). Oddly enough I was recently reminded of this summer activity when looking at the work of Claire Oswalt. Of course, Oswalt’s pieces are far more complex that the paper figures I made as a girl and cleverly utilise paper, wood and mixed materials to produce sculptural works that incorporate movement.

Significantly, the subjects of Oswalt’s sculptures are not merely marionettes, but strangely real characters who are caught in various processes of living: fighting, falling in love, feeling despondent and quietly observing. To this end, there is a wonderful tension between kinetics and stasis in each piece that provides her work with an amazing energy. Her I Fell in Love series just kills me.


January 12, 2011