Open Air, Still Life
4 February 2017 - 23 July 2017
Frances Hodgkins’ Mediterranean-inspired plein air arrangements liberated the ‘still life’ from the domestic realm, painting a world beyond the table. Her travels around Spain (Ibiza, Barcelona and Tossa de Mar) and the south of France (Avignon, Martigues, St Raphael and St Tropez) in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s provided an abundant source of inspiration and a taste for lush, exotic fruits —frequently used as motifs in her work. During this period, she expanded the field of still life painting to encompass landscape, non-figurative portraiture, and expressions of the self. Influences such as Cubism, Faux Naïveté, and Surrealism informed her work, yet throughout her career she maintained an autonomous artistic practice.
Drawing on Hodgkins’ playful treatment of colour, form and composition, this exhibition brings together contemporary and historical artworks that further expand the still life genre. Her influence can be seen in Erica van Zon’s direct reference to specific works such as Self Portrait: Still Life (c.1935); Vanessa Bell and Ronald Grierson’s connection to British Modernism; Imogen Taylor and Saskia Leek’s balance between abstraction and representation; and Joanna Margaret Paul’s meditation on the self through still life.