Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Georgie Hill goes mellow - with spring light
24 March - 17 April 2010
Georgie Hill has built up quite a following through the intensity of her tortured symbolism and claustrophobic, 3-walled enclosed spaces, as seen in her two previous shows. Those works had a particular kind of ambience with their dominant blood red and dark hues, but with this new exhibition, the mood changes.
Her new works of bedroom interiors are filled with air, more light, less intense and less Gothic. There are lots of pale blues and greys, and the manner of her highly obsessive drawing with watercolour and faint pencil has altered. There is less sense of mass – though there still remains a characteristic tension between geometric control and enclosed, churning wavelike forms.
These works technically seem to defy genres. They look like some odd printing hybrid with sugarlift blended with a lithographic process, but it is nevertheless predominantly watercolour – only more delicate than before.
That is really saying something, because this work is surprisngly much more fanatically precise now in its linear acuity of strictly positioned hair-thin lines. It is so unbelievable that you wonder if she has used computers, but no, it is all watercolour with the characteristic attendant, petal-like unfolding of blossomy gradated arabesques and tiny rivulets.
Hill’s images are also more narrative and less trope-based now. They are not the expected obscure metonymic symbols, but include more easily recognisable female forms (representing herself) with exposed spinal columns encased in what seem to be violet or sweet pea petals. These signs are less inner or private, having more outer natural–world correlations that are easier to decode. They include domestic furniture such as chests of drawers, items of clothing like plaid shirts, toppled horizontal vases, or posters of Rita Angus exhibitions.As with her earlier shows, there are often little roots wiggling skywards out of the ground, seeking sustenance out of the air.
Like Angus, Hill revels in self-portraiture – not that of facial physiognomy but solely chosen objects in a domestic space. They create a sort of declaration of personal identity, using room as metaphor - infused with a warm spring light. While this exhibition rams home Hill’s technical brilliance with tiny marks and fine lines, and I have gone on about it, that alone cannot make memorable art. Technique is only a small part of any art practice – if at all – for assistants with manual skills can be rented. With Hill the ambiguous forms which seem to change each time you briefly look away, maintain an interpretative richness. They are what keep her imagery hauntingly enigmatic and her stagey interiors compulsive viewing.