A new exhibition titled ‘Water Works’ features two bodies of work on the notion of ‘water’. The projects Tidal Resonance and Luminous Icescapes were developed during the past few years in Florida, Alaska and Iceland by the artist Andrea Hamilton. Both series of images are placed in relation to each other and also to the gallery space and to the movement of the viewer. The photographs in Tidal Resonance depict the echoes, natural sounds and languages of the ocean.
Hamilton aims to grasp the essence of haiku poems, a very short form of Japanese poetry often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a cutting word between them. Haiku poems have the power to provoke images, impressions and traces of memory in the reader’s minds. Haiku transforms a short sentence into an imaginary photograph. In Tidal Resonance, the artist approaches the subject from this poetic perspective, while in Luminous Icescapes she looks at the importance of the climate change through the representation of sculptural icebergs that appeared like diamonds scattered on the beach. For all their monumentality, they are vulnerable and contingent, caught in a moment of melting, fracturing, depleting, returning to the ocean. Throughout her work, Hamilton addresses the contemporary anxieties surrounding our changing natural world and speaks to our human values and our relationship with the environment and the world.
“If we consider the uncanny as an image or event that requires us to rethink how we look at or understand something, there is a sense that Hamilton’s petrified waves reveal both an emerging, nascent formation – the wave – alongside a highly personalised historical document of that wave’s passing.” Anthony Downey Director of the Master’s Programme in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art London
The photographs in Andrea Hamilton’s ongoing bodies of work are composed scenes of idealised nature that have different degrees of reminiscence and illusion. Sometimes Hamilton simply captures the “decisive moment” and other times she reconstructs it through a variety of tools to recreate an impression of the ephemeral moment. Regardless of technique, the result is the resounding message that nature behaves in amazing and unexpected ways. However Hamilton understands reality as an intellectual construction and photography as a tool to negotiate this idea of reality. She likes to capture the marks humankind leaves behind in different spaces and contexts, but also to question ideas of perception and landscape representation. In order to obtain an intimate engagement with the viewer ―and despite being an outsider― Hamilton has developed a palette of techniques and colours that depict the reveries of the land but also the traces and impressions that spaces leave her with in her memory. The notions of time and space are very important in her work. AS Gaston Bachelard wrote in his seminal book La poétique de l’espace (1958) summarises : “the poetic image is not an echo of the past. On the contrary: through the brilliance of any image, the distant past resounds with echoes.” His writing on poetics and the philosophy of science have influenced the way Hamilton has been developing her series of photographs during the past few years, along with other well- known thinkers such as Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag. Tacita Dean, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Gerard Richter are examples of talents that have inspired her career as an artist. Furthermore, her personal interest in observation, travelling and spirituality has spurred on the creation of a solid artistic proposal since 1990s.
Andrea Hamilton Water Works 24 Sept. – 6 Oct. 2014 DELAHUNTY 21 Bruton Street, Mayfair London W1J 6QD