First Independent Gallery
Bergamot Station G6
2525 Michigan Avenue Santa Monica, CA  90404
tel: 310.829.0345  fax: 310.829.7612
Wed-Sat, 11-5 & by appointment


From Here to There

February 10 - March 13, 2010



Dirty water and floating debris, shadows, the feeling I get driving under an overpass or seeing the elegance of a large crane. These things are so every day, yet to me somehow significant. So I keep them in mind and draw them in my sketchbook and photograph them. There is also a bright green color, which seems to be everywhere I look, it has a freshness and a sign that something is happening, maybe it is construction or a new idea of freedom.

This year I have made some paintings of these altered landscapes. The landscapes I have painted are not wild romantic landscapes of the sublime, but landscapes altered by the hand and mind of man, with his bridges, cranes, roads and overpasses. All the stuff of human construction that alters the landscape for a time and changes it.

I have been thinking about bridges too. The linking aspect of them. The possibility of bringing one kind of person to another place. There is also danger and destruction in bridges. As a child, I had a fear of and fascination with drawbridges. A neighbor of mine in Seattle worked on a bridge, he was in charge of raising and lowering the bridge for tall ships to pass by. I remember being worried about that whenever I went over a bridge. There are also very high bridges which can be frightening. So I have made a bridge failure painting, the falling Tacoma Narrows Bridge. In making these paintings beauty becomes an antidote to fear.

Some of the paintings in this show also have heavy dark structures, beautiful but overbearing. They act as a weight in the painting, the only relief is to look around them or through them to the indistinct landscape they frame. So there is an element of fear and oppression that I am exploring. The heavy dark weight and the fragile cityscape juxtaposed like our human position in the face of unknown forces.

The title "From Here to There" is not only a description of moving from place to place but an expression of a change in conditions both physical and psychological.

Claire Chene 2010


Arrival Underpass
Arrival Underpass, 2010,
acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48”

Tacoma Narrows Disaster
Tacoma Narrows Disaster, 2009,
acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 ”

Tokyo 23
Tokyo 23, 2009,
acrylic on paper, 30 x 22 1/4”


Mizu Venice
Mizu Venice, 2009,
acrylic & sumi ink on paper, 30 x 22 ¼"


Dark Underpass,
2008-9, acrylic on canvas, 46x42 "

First Independent Gallery • Bergamot Station G6 • 2525 Michigan Avenue • Santa Monica, CA  90404
2010© FIG