Artist Statement


Cleary's practice is an investigation into the boundaries that exist between spatial entities. Involving an exploration of those entities in their ambiguous states, the in-between, on the threshold of transformation. She engages in a sculptural based practice that embraces common materials and textiles. Emphasis is placed on the creation of immersive spaces that recognize the importance of the viewer's role. Cleary has a specific interest in the hidden subtext of the everyday space, in particular her focus has been on the domestic space and the concealed traumas within. Her ongoing investigation into how the residue of a trauma can remain in a space long after that event has occurred is an important concept within her work. Cleary works with the belief that space has the ability to absorb events, traumatic or otherwise, and with each onslaught of such an event, that space is changed permanently. Her seemingly unconnected pieces act as a collective metaphor for trauma, the physical trauma itself has passed but the memory of it continues to persist.

Her work embraces societal concerns and becomes a symbol of ‘the now’; it’s a visual response to the strength and determination of the female as she navigates through a misogynistic culture. The concept behind the work derives from trauma and coercion associated with domestic abuse. Her work portrays a favourable aesthetic but behind that falsehood of perfection lays an insidious subtext. Despite been steeped in themes of injustice and oppression Cleary tries to make work that is focused on the strength and endurance of women as they steer through impossible situations.

Discarded materials that already possess a recognizable function, and hold an alternative history have added an important element to her practice. Their transformation from humble origins exposes a tension that exists between the objects previous existence and its transformed state. 

Cleary’s work attempts to create a thoughtful dialogue through careful re-fashioning of materials, a selective use of colour and a combination of light to draw the viewer into a disturbing domestic circumference. Recently she has introduced textiles into her working methodology, these textile pieces incorporate hand-sewn patches representative of a traditional craft typically associated with women. Cleary hopes to advance her practice by making textiles an integral part of the work combining it with reconstructed found objects and elements of light to communicate themes of oppression.

Cleary is motivated by her own experience with Domestic abuse, after spending years in an abusive marriage. Cleary makes work that adapts to the gallery space, and by viewing it in correlation with the space of the home she brings the private out into the public in a move to open up a discourse around the hidden injustices of the female within the home. Her work to date empowers a move towards the next phase of her life. It is clear that her life and her artistic practice remain very much entwined and so far she has been unable to draw a distinction between them. In retrospect her work itself imparts more of an honest disclosure over any verbal statement that she has made on it to date.