How many times have you walked the same path, crossed the same street, looked at the same view without ever really seeing it? Art is often a way of helping us to see things in a different, sometimes truer, way, and this is never more the case than with Simon Hopinson’s 2011 exhibitions.
A recent exhibitor at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery and the RWA’s open exhibitions, Simon has become increasingly interested in the impact he witnessed in viewers experiencing his artwork en-masse, and decided to explore this further with a solo show at the RWA’s Fedden Gallery last March. This summer you’ll be able to see Simon’s work as part of a four-artist exhibition at the Grant Bradley Gallery, Bedminster, and in a larger solo show entitled An Alternative Trail at the Tobacco Factory Theatre bar.
Presenting starkly lit, intriguing segments of city sights, the paintings bring a sometimes eerie sense of the unknown to familiar sights, reminding that however well we know a place, there are always previously un-glimpsed views to seek out. Using the photograph as a map, Simon then sets to work with acrylic paints, drawing out the luminosity of the shot and imbuing it with atmosphere.
“I like to walk through the city and photograph the things that strike me as uniquely beautiful, capture them and share them,” he says. “I have a fascination with certain types of scenery, and I aim to get across the mood that drew me to it.”
Simon recognises the grandeur lurking in unexpected places, from graffiti-ed subways to cemeteries, abandoned buildings to rusting metal girders – often views that give off a sense of decay.
His symbolic pieces take this a step further, playing with our anticipation by blending realism with elements such as headless dolls and stone angels as well as haunting images of buildings that exude, as he says himself: “feelings of decline or loss or threat.”
It isn’t surprising to learn that Simon’s art career began following a degree in Philosophy, though he is keen to point out that “Philosophy is to do with the rational side of things while my work is to do with emotions. I don’t think my work is necessarily exploring ideas, it’s more to do with conveying a feeling.”
Whether you’re seeking to soak up the atmosphere of the pieces or simply take in a different view of urban landscapes you think you know, Simon Hopkinson’s art will draw you in and stir up your responses to the world around you.
Simon’s paintings will be exhibited at the Grant Bradley Gallery from 1-27 August and at the Tobacco Factory Theatre bar from 29 August – 1 October. There will be open previews on Friday 5 August and Saturday 3 Sep