Claire Watson

02.Ancestors 09.sum-what 11.uncle-auntie 15.The-Thing-Is 17.Endtoendto

Work1 Title: Ancestors Say Year: 2014 Materials: Ten pairs of white leather gloves, ten pairs of black leather gloves, thread; mounted on linen Dimensions: H 48 W 32 D
Work2 Title: Sum What Year: 2016 Materials: Boiled leather baby shoes, thread Dimensions: H 22 W 22 D
Work3 Title: Uncle Auntie Year: 2015-2016 Materials: Leather baby shoes, leather pants remnants, buckram, thread Dimensions: H 16 W 16 D
Work4 Title: The Thing Is Year: 2016 Materials: Two pairs of boiled leather pants, thread; mounted on 1/8″ plywood Dimensions: H 52 W 48 D
Work5 Title: EndtoEndto Year: 2016 Materials: Three pairs of boiled leather pants, thread; mounted on 1/8″ plywood Dimensions: H 30 W 92 D


These selections are from related series in which leather garments—gloves, shoes, coats and pants—are deconstructed along seam lines and flattened like flayed skins into their distinctive pattern parts.  Unaltered, but in some cases boiled and then stretched taut until they dry, they are sewn by hand into a rough symmetry of repeating motifs determined by pairs.  I refer to readings about the earliest garments, and the origins of ancient ancestral patterns in simple alternating hide colors and shapes.  My focus is on the physicality of the leather and the effect of scale. Narrative, when it appears, is in the inherent attributes of the materials. Some of the finished works have one foot, so to speak, in reductive abstraction.  Others suggest needlework tapestries, or masks or totems but it is the evidence of wear–the stains, smudges, and wrinkles, the lingering odor of tobacco smoke–that evokes ghosts.


After completing a BFA at the University of Texas in Austin, I earned an MFA at Tyler School of Art in Rome and Philadelphia. My work has been exhibited in New York and nationally; the most recent solo show was a 2014 retrospective at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. I received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1990 and a Fellowship in Sculpture from New York Foundation for the Arts in 2007; in 2014 I served as a Panelist for  the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Applications in Sculpture.  I currently live and work  in New York.

For a concise cv with exhibitions history please see my website:

Place: New York