Clare Woods

Chisenhale Gallery

Nature almost never looks this good, and painting rarely does either. Clare Woods’s three enormous landscape paintings—Rock of the Night (the largest, measuring thirty-six feet in length), Gwen’s Bobby, and The Grump, all 2006—spread across three walls of Chisenhale’s cavernous space as if poured in great waves. Glossy and intricately painted, this immense trio of works (collectively titled “Deaf Man’s House”) overflows with sinuous natural forms: masses of leaves, roots, grasses, branches, mosses, puddles. CinemaScope in scale and format, “Deaf Man’s House” adheres unmistakably to the long British tradition of pastoral landscape painting, somehow managing to conjure two contradictory moments of the English countryside—a mythical, verdant, gothic past and the mutant overgrowth of postindustrial abandon.

Woods’s work is brimming with tantalizing contradictions. The panoramic

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