Published: 26 February 2020
Last night we opened our current exhibition, The Family Unit, which presents portraits centred on the theme of family. The exhibition features new paintings by some of our old favourites and some new artists:
London based oil painter Pauline Hazelwood makes monuments of her sons as subjects, and not just for the Thompson's 'Family Unit' exhibition. As a mother of three and avid artist, Hazelwood takes great joy in capturing the bond amongst her progeny and singling them out for individual portraits. This painting, aptly titled 'My Three Boys' depicts quality time at Christmas lunch- a familiar and fond view for all audiences.
Young Scottish artist Coll Hamilton contributed a thought-provoking, intense portrait for the Thompson's group exhibition. As a newcomer to the gallery, Hamilton explained his chief aim was to approach the prompt, 'What does family mean to you?' from the angle of heredity and predisposition. Along with his painting, the artist provided the following words of reflection:
'[this painting] is concerned with the effect the family unit can have on an individual within it. The painting portrays someone looking at themselves and seeing elements of their parents - both good and bad. Even as an adult, long after we are no longer living within the family home, we can be trying to unpick ourselves from patterns of behaviour within that unit... I think the experience of recognising your parents in yourself as an adult can range from being as benign as thinking you look like your Dad as you remember him when he was the age you are now - to examining your own negative behaviour and destructive personality traits that are similar to your parents and wondering if you are destined to repeat their mistakes. I think the family unit can be - at the same time - something you take comfort in along with being something that you are trying to overcome and unshackle yourself from.'
Draughtsman and painter Adam Riches is another new name in the Thompson's 'Family Unit' exhibition. The artist created a large-scale, monochrome depiction of 'Mother' in reaction to the prompt. Glamorous and nostalgic, the image harkens to a 50s era family unit (Jackie O has sprung to mind for many since the painting's unveiling). Riches provides viewers with an intimate scene shrouded in anonymity, allowing insertion of oneself into either parent or child's role for the narrative.
NEAC and London Group painter Peter Clossick offers a deeply tender and personal pair of paintings for 'Family Unit' at Thompson's. The artist (like many among and before him) utilizes family and friends for the majority of his subjects and sittings, in this instance recording and celebrating the pregnancy of his daughter Jane. The impasto swathes of cool tones in oil nearly abstract the pregnant female form, but the scene itself is far from cold. The warmth and care of an artist to document the precious moments of a mother-to-be is noticeable, compounded by the fact its maker is a grandparent in waiting.