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|Georgie Hopton "Cut and Come Again" at Poppy Sebire |
Georgie Hopton, In the Marrow II, 2008. Edition 4, 2 AP, 15.2 x 20.2 cm. Giclee print. Image courtesy of the artist, Georgie Hopton and Poppy Sebire Gallery.
LONDON.- Georgie Hopton lives for part of the year in Upstate New York, in Americas Catskill Mountains. In 2005, after conquering the perennial bed, she moved on to creating a vegetable garden, which quickly became a passion and a preoccupation. In 2006 Hopton tentatively made the first photographs of herself and her gardens wild output, beginning a series she called Harvest. Continued each summer since, 2009 was her most abundant 'season' to date, with vegetable prints and sculpture being added to the series. Work from each year will be shown in this exhibition for the first time.
In Cut And Come Again the garden and the artists relationship with/to it is the subject under scrutiny. Grown out of the need to work, whilst immersed in the new found joy of gardening, the products of sweat and toil are wheelbarrowed or trugged from garden to studio and form both the materials and inspiration for the artists finally more burning purpose; the creative act. The result is a visual celebration of the symbiosis achieved between the fundamental urge to feed the body and the existential need to feed the soul.
Hoptons photographs in the Harvest series are humorous, strange and thought provoking. Parts of her semi-clad or naked body are juxtaposed alongside often peculiar looking garden produce. Aprons, last seen in Glorious 1950s Technicolor and here snatched up for modesty and whimsys sake, all at once revel in, gently chide and eroticise an idea of domestic bliss no longer relevant. Hopton enjoys this ambivalence, loving to excess the sensual pleasure of a scone-scented kitchen and the opportunity her Upstate life gives her to create one, whilst detesting the relatively recent notion that women existed only to provide a warm, welcoming and nourishing home for their husbands and children to return to. The candour and attitude that each image holds is quietly liberating, mirroring Hoptons revelation on realising that the garden need not be a retreat from the creative process, but an integral part of it.
These images serve as a self-portrait that examines the relationship between the artist and her crop, the external and internal self. The vegetable prints, meanwhile, explore the realms of the imagination and the conscious notion to recycle and adapt materials so prevalent amongst serious gardeners and todays conservationists. The instinct to make pictures is channelled through the childish activity of potato printing. An abundant vegetable garden provides numerous variations on the potato and the artist is able to satisfy her desire for fresh/new printing tools by the bushel. Gourds, pumpkins, beetroot, courgettes, aubergines any vegetable tough enough to withstand the weight of paint and pressure is sliced and daubed. In the tradition of Botanical Art, the artist has conjured flora, which, shaped in thick acrylic paint, sit heavily on contrasting, weightless newsprint and appear at once sculptural and flat. These marks are imbued with the story of the journey that has brought the artist and her work this far and appear like the physical manifestation of Hoptons dependence on her garden and its living and dying joys and disappointments.
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