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Indepth Arts News:

"Works by Louise Hopkins"
2003-04-04 until 2003-05-03
Andrew Mummery Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

Louise Hopkins re-shapes the surface of things: consciously interweaving paint into and out of a pre-existing object, evolving it into something entirely new, while at the same time, retaining the resonance of what lies beneath. Whether painting across furnishing fabric, sheet music, maps, or newspapers, Hopkins creates a meticulously controlled interplay of contradictions: between erasure and exposure, beauty and ugliness, love and loss, language and meaning. 

Hopkins paintings are deceptive in their simplicity: it is only up close that the detail and precision of line is revealed. Each is considered as a performance of repetitive process, a study of time, which fixes the image forever in memory. Trace by trace, she methodically over-paints a pre-formulated ground, transposing the model into painting and the mass produced and everyday into something unique, something timeless. Initially, this took the form of a series of paintings across the reverse side of furnishing fabric. Using an intricate network of finely painted line, she retraced the reversed floral motifs across parts of the fabric, whilst leaving broad areas un-worked and exposed. This premise is further complicated with her recent series of works using this material. Here, the painting itself seems to be somehow interwoven into the fabric surface: a perpetual oscillation between something dead and something very much alive. 

Perception is further challenged with her series of map paintings. By painting out seas or layering line over landmasses, our sense of location, or place, becomes de-stabilized, leaving us lost amidst these mythical landscapes. Her recent work (Untitled 2003) takes this a step further: by literally tearing away the surface of a map, the two-dimensional plane is transformed into a new physical structure, a new landscape. This resolutely human attempt to re-assemble space is further articulated with a series of works made on metric graph paper. Areas of the grid's surface are scratched away and then painstakingly, yet imperfectly re-painted. For Hopkins, these creations stand as psychological spaces: a testament to the act of trying and the almost inevitable failure of this task, due to the limitations of the body.

For Hopkins, the process of erasure is always creative rather than reductive, opening up the possibility for new connections, associations and meanings from supposedly definitive information sources or power structures. With the work, Untitled, (the, of, the), (2002), these connections are drawn from the words across the page of a broadsheet newspaper. Here, every single key word or image is concealed, leaving only the connecting words, the glue that binds the phrases and sentences together. Words become isolated signs denied their referents, and yet, what's left remains a language, with its own undeniable pattern, rhythm and form. This quest to expose a secret history, or hidden structure, lies at the very heart of Louise Hopkins's projects. Look closer, and nothing is quite what it seems. 

Louise Hopkins was born in 1965 and now lives and works in Glasgow. In January 2002 she received a Creative Scotland Award which has enabled the research and production of the work in this exhibition

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