Jessica Silverman presents Clare’s Balls, a solo exhibition of 22 paintings by California artist Clare Rojas. On view from April 25 to June 1, the exhibition riffs on the motif of dots, circles, and orbs. Variously overt and hidden, abstract and literal, funny and serious, the balls foster engagement and change. They are cradled, swept, and teetered upon. Some glow in the night sky; others suggest body parts. Both planetary and cellular, the spheres connect our innermost selves to the outer reaches of the cosmos. 

Four irreverent, geometric paintings feature figures whose bodies are loosely held together by black circles. In What Remains (2024), two characters with magenta-colored flower-heads have torsos composed of black orbs, conjuring both stores of energy and expectant voids. With a figure kneeling on one knee, the narrative could be about an offering or a polite but invasive touch.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, spheres make further mischief. In Night Rocks (2024), a lone woman or girl walks atop three large balls along a coastal cliff. Her balancing act is set against a deep blue ocean and bright green earth that glimmer in the moonlight. Expertly layered paint builds into richly saturated multi-colored plains; it’s a meditative process through which the artist finds harmony in chaos.

Sometimes the orbs are also eyes – clutched in a figure’s hands, nestled in petals’ folds, or found lurking in a cat’s stare. Together with precisely balanced compositions, the works evoke a sense knowing and the calm that comes with it. Deftly exploring the texture and weight of human life with levity and mysticism, Rojas elevates daily experiences to otherworldly realms.

One of the largest works in the show, The Stallion (2024), depicts a man and woman seated in a restaurant booth. She is composed and confident, staring past him into the future. He is awkward – all arms and legs – taking up space without purpose. The scene’s inclusion of a fedora, salt and pepper shakers, and a napkin dispenser recalls Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 painting Nighthawks. This painting by Rojas offers a fresh take on the chronic loneliness of contemporary America. For the woman at the table, this includes a sense of deep alienation from the man seated beside her.