Artist Curated: Ten Artworks in Ten Minutes
georgie hopton Curates - Ten artworks in ten minutes
We are pleased to present the fourth in a series of artist-curated viewing rooms, where a gallery artist selects ten works from our inventory. All we have asked is that they choose pieces that they find engaging, inspiring or thought-provoking.Our aim is that this distillation will encourage us to look more closely and to see familiar pictures in a new way - helping us to better understand both the works that have been chosen and the artist who has chosen them.
"When I look at art I am looking for my sympathies to be stoked. Ultimately, I'm looking for something that I relate to and I suppose we all are. It's not that I want to recognise myself in the artwork of others, it's more that I want to know that there are kindred spirits out there. It's a reassuring sensation to know that you're not alone, that there are sisters and brothers out there in the world, feeling and thinking perhaps as you do. So on one level, I guess I want community and on another level, I think I also want to know how strangers think."
'This is a lithograph by Kiki Smith. I imagine the woman is one of her pilgrim sisters. I love this piece called the Red Cap because it has a sort of tragedy and at the same time, a monumentality. The scale is oversized, which is often the case in Smith's figurative work, her females often have something of the giantess about them and this pilgrim sister certainly does. Though at the same time, she's incredibly delicate and is full of pathos and worry.
The limited palette attracts me. The use of red always attracts me in a picture because I find it difficult to use myself. So here it describes her lips and her cheeks and her hair. I also love the fact that the ribbons on her bonnet are just described by line and are transparent so they're sort of weightless and float as her hair does behind her.' - Georgie Hopton.
Frank StellaSidi Ifni, 1973
'This is a lithograph by Frank Stella made in 1973 called Sidi Ifni which is a city on the west coast of Morocco. Morocco has the most incredible red earth and, as this is a coastal city, you can imagine it has red cliffs, red sunlight, striped sunsets, shutters on all the windows and, in my mind, that's all going on in this picture. Looking at this print, you can imagine the smells and the colours and the movement of light almost all day long from the sea and the buildings.' - Georgie Hopton
Gary HumeDestroyed School, 2018
'This is a charcoal and pastel drawing by Gary Hume from a series on war that was made over almost three years. The series is called Destroyed School Pictures and, for me, they are all incredibly powerful works. I find it a combination of exuberant and tragic because I know it comes from an amalgamation of images including murals by children and their teachers on school walls. I believe, and also imagine, where you see nothing in the image it's because a bomb has taken some of the image away. So the fact that you have this still life, this vase of joyful flowers, exploding outwards from its basket and the knowledge that this literally was blown up, is incredibly poignant to me and I am really moved by it. I love it.' - Georgie Hopton
Ed RuschaVarious Small Fires , 1970
'So, this is a lithograph called Various Small Fires by Ed Ruscha made in 1970 after, and I presume as a response to, a series of books he made.
Ruscha spent many years investigating words and script and this is part of that continued investigation. So he'd made an object, the book, that he then made a new object from, this print. I'm very interested in the relationship between Ruscha's original object and his print that references it.
This print is all about the suggestion of what is inside the book, offered by the book's title. I think of love and passion and little disasters. The sentence Various Small Fires is somehow irresistible, it is so evocative, it's impossible not to conjure up images or emotional moments of significance. So there's a lot to be gained from contemplating this picture. It's fantastic.' - Georgie Hopton
Suzy MurphyOf Darkness, 2020
'This is a Suzy Murphy oil painting made in 2020 called Of Darkness. It's so enigmatic, so atmospheric, and really conjures up this tropical island. The sky is of course Turner-esque and I love the channel of blues, pinks and greens, slightly off centre, impacted by these black vague edges from which palm trees and delicate telephone wires emerge.
The yellow in the sky is absolutley beautiful, whether it be a remnant of the sun, a comet, or just the artist's desire to add a touch of yellow. I believe it was Turner who said that if you were to add a touch of red in any part of a painting it would make it better. In my opinion, this spot of yellow works in exactly this way. It's a fantastic little painting because it packs such a punch, in so little space.' - Georgie Hopton
Gerald LaingUntitled, 1965
'Here we have an untitled 'picture-object' made by the artist Gerald Laing in 1965. The fact it has no title lends the piece a certain level of ambiguity. I love this piece precisely for this ambiguity because I've got no idea what it is that I'm looking at. I love that it's a confined piece of energy, that it's a little handmade object, each individual element looks completely handmade, fixed together to create this contained world of energy.
I do know that around about this time, he and another artist of the pop art movement embarked on a project to create the most satisfying art object and I imagined that this piece might be part of that search.' - Georgie Hopton
Gary HumeThe Sister Troop, 2009
'This is a silkscreen from a set of 10 made by Gary Hume in 2009 called The Sister Troop, all 10 works pertaining to cheerleaders. I love the whole set, but I chose this one in particular because it terrifies and intrigues me all at once. The limbs have become prosthetic and without purpose, rather than arms and legs they are akin to stumps. I find this prosthetic quality equally repulsive and deeply interesting.
The really striking and intriguing thing about this artwork is the process behind making it. This silkscreen is made from elements, maybe paper, on a stainless steel or aluminium background. When Gary was playing with these images, he wasn't satisfied and started chopping them up, this gave this collaged effect. When I saw the end result, I was really jealous, all of them are so unexpected.
Ultimately, I find this image perplexing and endlessly interesting because I've got no idea how it ended up coming to look the way it does.' - Georgie Hopton
Helen FrankenthalerSnow Pines, 2004
'This is Helen Frankenthaler's Snow Pines - a beautiful Ukiyo-e woodcut from 2004. Ukiyo-e is a Japanese word given to artists working between the 17th and 19th centuries. They were quickly nicknamed 'artists of the floating world' because of the English translation of ukiyo-e.
The artists of the floating world created images of dancers, beautiful landscapes, people enjoying and reveling in life and creativity. There was exuberance and fantasy in those images but also a celebration of luxury and pleasure. This print by Frankenthaler is remarkable because it's impossible to understand how that can be a wood cut because it looks like the most fluid, abstract painting.
The title helps us deduce that this is clearly a landscape, whether it's an evocation of something that Frankenthaler was actually looking at, something she was thinking about or whether it was a memory of being in the snow pines, either way it certainly creates a mystical or spiritual connection with whatever landscape she was trying to create.
Another extraordinary aspect of the work is it's sheer size, in terms of it being a woodcut. I can't imagine how you make such a big object in that process.' - Georgie Hopton
Tom HammickTristan's Fire, 2020
'I love Tom Hammick's print called Tristan's Fire, a woodcut made in 2020 because, firstly it does this very beautiful thing whereby the smoke leaving the bonfire is a transparent layer over the horizon and then all at once it changes, and it becomes a hole in the horizon created by the shape that the smoke makes. I absolutely love this dual experience that you get when you're looking at it. At one moment, you have the substance of the smoke, which even though ethereal you believe to be a solid thing, and at the next moment the whole shape that the smoke makes has been cut out from the image. I think it's extraordinary and really beguiling, I very much enjoy the gradation from yellow to dark blue, from pink to orange, from black to blue.' - Georgie Hopton
List of Works
Works Available By Georgie Hopton