Claire van der Plas

I was born in the Netherlands and grew up there and in the UK and New Zealand. I also lived in Singapore before emigrating to the USA in 2008. I earned my BFA and MFA at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Besides making art I enjoy hiking, skiing and gardening.

Boom Days #2 – Leadville
Oil on canvas, 60” x 42”, 2015

All painting deals with surfaces. Both the surface of the painting you’re creating and the surfaces that the world presents to our eyes.

In my current work I’m carefully rendering the surfaces of rocks and water, not changing any of the information from the photographs that I work from. I strive to choose compositions and execute paintings that reveal the fascinating detail in those surfaces. It is through the original choice of subject matter and composition, rather than through interpretive execution, that the potential for mystery or differing interpretations arises. You can see more of my work on my website.

I teach foundations studio courses, art criticism and art theory as well as working individually with graduate students. I believe my role as an art professor is to encourage and empower students to develop their thinking skills as well as their making skills. In my classes we do this through research, reading, discussion, critical thinking, trial and error, practice and open-ended, explorative art-making assignments.

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