Elaina Cloninger

In my work, I explore universally recognizable essences of nature. Despite a lack of accurate representationalism, my abstracted pieces of the outdoor world convey the same wonder that the real scenes convey.  Journeying from meandering streams to jagged mountains to smooth pebbles on a riverbank, I investigate the textures of mismatched snapshots in the world. These are small areas of landscapes that could be located anywhere, but have the same qualities of looseness, sharpness, or silkiness everywhere. I also dive into caverns with cracked walls which suddenly turn into glassy, still hot springs. These are scenes that place me into an area, where I am engulfed by what’s around me, yet I don’t need the entirety of the object to understand my surroundings. All these aspects are woven together to form the outdoors. I challenge the notion that I must see the whole context of an environment to know where I am. Even though I can only see the textures and general shapes of the scene, I have clarity and comfort of the familiarity.


Nature peaks my curiosity no matter how spectacular the view. Even in the most mundane rock beds, there are crevices and growth that create a crinkled masterpiece of texture. I am most comfortable in the outdoors that I recognize, so I easily forget to observe and appreciate the way a typical shadow of three piled rocks creates a curved, moving figure. By painting these wonders, I mull on the idea of nature’s innate beauty, even if not an explicit scene of magnificence. I strive to bring the ordinary to life, showing the simple fact that familiarity can be beautiful.

Wake Forest University – BA

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Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106

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SECCA is an affiliate of the North Carolina Museum of Art and a division of the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. SECCA receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Additional funding is provided by the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund.

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