Clare Thackway is interested in the ways we perform and move our bodies through
spaces both literal and emotional. In her finely wrought portraits and figurative
paintings, the body becomes a language through which she contemplates moments
of universal human experience, from the emotional to the societal.
Thackway brings a fascination with psychological theories to her figures, considering
the ways in which the psyche and memory affect the ways in which we hold
ourselves. Her current body of work investigates ideas of performance and the role
of costume and drapery in mediating movement.
Thackway’s practice has been informed by her experience as a scenic painter and
her interest in human relationships, and the ways in which we affect each other, has
also been shaped by her work as an artist educator.
As a scenic painter, Thackway worked for Opera Australia from 2008 to 2010, and
for film and events in both Sydney and Berlin. As an artist educator, she has worked
on contemporary art education and public programs with a specific focus on working
with people with dementia and their families; people with lived experience of mental
health; and all ages with disability and access requirements. She has undertaken
program development, co-ordination and facilitation for organisations including
Wollongong Art Gallery, Casula Powerhouse, Australian National University and
Alzheimer’s Australia National. Since 2016 she has been an Artist Educator at the
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and in 2017 worked as the MCA’s Art and
Dementia Program Coordinator.
Winner of the 2009 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, Thackway is also a five -
times finalist in the prestigious Portia Geach Memorial Award, most recently in 2018
and Highly Commended in 2017. She has also been a finalist in the Helen Lempriere
Travelling Scholarship, the Blake Prize for Religious Art and, in 2018, both the Sir
John Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Doug Moran
National Portrait Prize.
Thackway holds a Bachelor of Arts – Visual Painting from the Australian National
University and in 2006 she graduated from the National Art School Sydney with
Honours in Fine Art Painting. She has held solo exhibitions and group exhibitions at
galleries including Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Wollongong Art Gallery,
Wellington Street Projects, Firstdraft, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, New
England Regional Art Museum and ANU School of Art, Canberra, amongst others.