Maggi Hambling No Straight Lines: Waves and Waterfalls
6 November - 21 December 2007
Maggi Hambling (born 1945) is a distinguished painter, sculptor, printmaker and one of very few contemporary draughtsmen of real distinction. Her work can be seen in the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate and many other public collections in the U.K.and abroad.
Amidst the loud clamour for attention that is the currency of much fashionably sensational art, Hambling’s drawings and paintings reach challenging new heights of meaning.
“Drawing is an artist’s most direct and intimate response to the world. The touch of charcoal, graphite or ink on paper is full of endless possibilities. I try to distil the essence of a subject and capture the life force of a moment.” Maggi Hambling October 2007.
The artist sees “no straight lines” in any part of nature she is moved to draw: people animals or the sea. Through a potent language of marks her work achieves a unique life-force. The exhibition includes memorable portraits of John Berger, Stephen Fry, and Max Wall from life, Oscar Wilde from imagination, Hambling’s mother from memory, and from life and death both her father and her lover Henrietta Moraes.
In 2003 Scallop, Hambling’s controversial sculpture to celebrate Benjamin Britten, was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk. In the pause between making the maquette and beginning work on the actual piece, Hambling began her now famous series of North Sea Paintings. The restless movement of the sea continues to obsess the artist and has never been so powerfully or physically expressed as in these recent paintings.
In contrast to the predominantly horizontal rhythm of the sea paintings there will be the first in a series of monumental waterfalls which will be seen in public for the first time at Abbot Hall. Three of these brand new works will tower the full height of the gallery walls, literally cascading from ceiling to floor.
Human and animal activity can be discovered within all these multi-layered works. Life, and its inescapable bed-fellow, death, are finely balanced in the action and energy of paint in these confrontational images.
An exciting new series of monoprints which capture waves and waterfalls on a smaller scale will also have their first showing in this exhibition.
The first part of the exhibition, No Straight Lines, features twenty of the artist’s drawings from throughout her 40 year career, including works on loan from private collections, the Ashmolean Museum, Tate and the British Museum. A catalogue of the drawings accompanies the exhibition and was produced by Marlborough Fine Art, London, who represent Maggi Hambling. Abbot Hall is extending the exhibition with a selection of the artist’s latest paintings of Waves and Waterfalls, which are coming directly from her studio to be seen in public for the first time.