Clare Ellison Jakes (‘CEJ’ for short) is a visual artist, working in Naarm (Melbourne). CEJ acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, in particular the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and the emerging leaders of tomorrow. Sovereignty was never ceded.
CEJ predominantly works in painting, but also across the fields of installation and video art. The themes across her practice are constantly evolving and shifting. Primarily, the work explores the relationship between art – and by extension culture – and the natural world. Particularly in the Global North, there is a prevailing culture-nature divide; the metabolic rift. In a time where the separation from the environment is beginning to collide with humanity’s existence, a paradigm shift is critical. While largely tar and concrete, the city is full of life; both human and non-human. The work honours our landscapes is essential in a time of escalating environmental crises; an intimate reconnection to our eco-surroundings and the mortality, beauty and complexity of this existence.
Additionally, the work sits in the discourse around sensuality and objectification, and their visual manifestations in contemporary and artistic culture. The canon’s depictions of lust and the body are explored through the work’s own medium, and challenged through its subjectivity. Its saturatured colouring does not retract seduction, flesh and intensity. How we look, feel and lose ourselves in desire, then re-imagine these aspects of desire, is the constant endeavour. It is a site where false binaries become lost as they intertwine in a wash of stimulated nerves, feeling and colour.
In 2017, CEJ graduated from the Victoria College of the Arts with First Class Honours. She is now studying a Master of Environment, University of Melbourne, specialising in the socio-political aspects of the environmental crisis.