Speculative Friction

by Claire Bateman


















One of my current obsessions is finding ways to fuse the organic with the galactic in the framework of the microcosmic—thus, a series of abstract miniatures. Feel free to contact me through Weekly Hubris if you’re interested in purchasing or commissioning paintings.

Claire Bateman GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—6/27/11—“Small may be beautiful, but where abstract painting is concerned, it is rarely fashionable. Big has held center stage at least since Jackson Pollock; the small abstractions of painters like Myron Stout, Forrest Bess and Steve Wheeler are mostly relegated to the wings, there to be considered eccentric or overly precious. Paul Klee was arguably the last genius of small abstraction to be granted full-fledged membership in the Modernist canon.

But what is marginalized can also become a form of dissent, a way to counter the prevailing arguments and sidestep their pitfalls. It is hard, for example, to work small and indulge in the mind-boggling degree of spectacle that afflicts so much art today. In a time of glut and waste on every front, compression and economy have undeniable appeal. And if a great work of art is one that is essential in all its parts, that has nothing superfluous or that can be subtracted, working small may improve the odds.”

—from “Is Painting Small the Next Big Thing?” by Roberta Smith. (

Claire Bateman’s books include Scape (New Issues Poetry & Prose); Locals (Serving House Books), The Bicycle Slow Race (Wesleyan University Press), Friction (Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize), At The Funeral Of The Ether (Ninety-Six Press, Furman University), Clumsy (New Issues Poetry & Prose), Leap (New Issues), and Coronology (Etruscan Press). She has been awarded Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Surdna Foundation, as well as two Pushcart Prizes and the New Millennium Writings 40th Anniversary Poetry Prize. She has taught at Clemson University, the Greenville Fine Arts Center, and various workshops and conferences such as Bread Loaf and Mount Holyoke. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina. (Please see Bateman’s Author’s Page for links to all her publications, and go here for further information about the poet and her work.) (Author Head Shot Augment: René Laanen.)

One Comment

  • eboleman-herring

    Ahhhh, you would get lost in the museums of Istanbul, Claire: at play in all those tiny, teeming gardens of the miniatures. I loved them, as a child. They were “my size,” and my vision and focus were so acute back then, that I pressed my nose to them for what seemed hours. Keyholes to new universes.