Clara Wells is a Christchurch-based artist whose focus is on experimental motion-based art. Her practice puts emphasis on methods in hand drawn animation and how these techniques can use physical and abstract phenomena to dictate motion.
Clara completed both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees at The University of Canterbury. During her time as an undergraduate, Clara was awarded the Select Award from the University’s Art Acquisition Committee, the Lonsdale-Edgar Junior Prize for Drawing, and the Ethel Susan Jones Fine Art Travelling Scholarship. The scholarship took her to Mono No Aware, a cinema-arts non-profit organization in New York, where she learned techniques of handmade emulsions and film processing. It also allowed her to spend time at Columbia University, melding her craft with that of experimental sound artists.
At the completion of her MFA in 2015, which looked into uses of abstract filmmaking in eliciting emotive and physical experiences, Clara moved to Hamilton where she practiced full time for two years. During this period she developed her desire for more physical experiences, as both a creator and viewer. By introducing endurance animations and optical disturbances, such as flicker effects, she crafted traditional animation techniques into digital evocations of the human condition.
In early 2017, shortly after moving back to Christchurch, Clara was awarded a 2-month residency position at the Parramatta Artist Studios in NSW. This residency opened her practice to more experimental methods; works that relied on community involvement and exaggerated ways of disrupting preconceptions of animation.
Clara continues to experiment with crowd-sourced animations, and the recent involvement of her work Flux, in The Physics Room’s series of onsite and itinerant exhibitions, (Un)conditional, demonstrates her ongoing research in preparation for building a new body of work.