Claire HarnEnz, MFA 2024

Thesis Exhibition: April 3-6 

Reception: April 5, 6-8 pm 


Inside Me There Are 2 Horses, 2023, oil on canvas stretched on panel, 30" x 40". 

"Behold a red horse!", 2023, oil on canvas wrapped panel, 30" x 40".

Artist Statement 

My paintings center on the promise and failure of the American Dream. In my paintings, I aim not to recreate the nostalgia of a bygone America, but instead to highlight the dystopia that has sprung up across the country. I want to both document and question the current world many Americans inhabit. Horses, animals with a complex history in America as emblems of “freedom” but also representative of westward expansion, are heavily featured in my work. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, I am deeply connected to horses. I am familiar with their form and with how they can operate as a laborer, making them a good subject to represent the lone American. I care about the representational aspect of my paintings. I want them to be crafted with care even as I comment on the spaces that I am creating. The love I have for these landscapes is complex, and I aim for that tension to be present in the work. I do this partially by pushing color as far as I can. With every painting, I want to see if I can push the tension further. Can a painting become “too red”? Can it become too difficult to look at? And if so, what does that do? 

More information about Claire HarnEnz at  

All photos are credited to the artist.