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Nicola Hepworth catch up

Developing new conceptual and visual directions


Since making the work for 100 Years of Justice, Nicola has been thinking more about structure and architecture in painting. In her painting for the commission, she used a children's climbing frame, to suggest the structure of the law on children's rights. She now intends to develop this idea, creating paintings of people in society and groups, but using the built and/ or natural environment to say something about that society. Nicola has been looking at the work of British Cubists like William Roberts, who coincidentally was born and lived in her area of Hackney, as a child. Like him she is interested in the rhythms and patterns in the city; how people interact with each other and the structures around them. She plans to start playing with these ideas soon, having been skimming around such thoughts with recent portraits and paintings of buildings and parks.


Portraits of NHS Heroes


During the summer of 2020 Nicola painted two portraits of NHS workers, as part of the online initiative "Portraits for NHS Heroes", started by artist Tom Croft. The painting of Dr Emma Young was selected to be included in an online exhibition and then also in the Bloomsbury book Portraits for NHS Heroes, published in July 2020.


90 Years of American Gothic


Nicola also submitted a painting to a project by Aldobranti for Fosco Fornio, commemorating 90 years of the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. She was interested by the combination of architecture and people, and saw the similarities between the house in the original painting and tin tabernacle churches in England. She used her daughter as the model for one of the people.


This picture was published by Fosco Fornio in a book in lieu of an exhibition.The painting, called Tin Gothic shows a so-called tin tabernacle church near Nicola’s house in Hackney, which resembles the building in American Gothic somewhat. There is a stillness to the image, and the two figures appear to be disconnected.



Capturing London Fields


Becoming more interested in architecture and nature, rather than people alone, Nicola painted the London Fields as seen from her studio window. The painting captured one of the known features - the public toilets that looked like little huts covered in moss. These have recently been refurbished so the painting now also serves to preserve a memory of these structures. The image is available as printed A6 cards, orderable from Nicola's website.


Interviews


Having done several video and written interviews over the past year, Nicola comments that they have been helpful in reflecting on her work, connecting some of the dots and articulating the thoughts that may have been circulating.


As a member of the Freelands Foundation Artisteacher Network Nicola has recorded a video talking about her practice , which you can view via this link.


E17 Art Trail


The E17Art Trail has been going for over 15 years, it combines local galleries, homes, public locations and all spaces where people make art in Walthamstow. From July 1st -18th 2021 there are exhibitions all over Walthamstow. Guides with maps are available online and from the festival hub, Gnome House and other locations. Nicola’s current portraits of fellow teachers and school staff are exhibited in the youth centre, Project Zero at The Outset Centre. She also worked with her students to put together a body of work on Black Lives Matter in the context of the pandemic, which is also at Project Zero, venue 38. In addition, Nicola has a painting on show at Gnome House, in the Possible Futures exhibition . This painting celebrates the gathering of friends around a kitchen table to drink wine and talk about books, among other things; it’s called What We Loved and was started during the second lockdown when such a gathering seemed a distant memory but something to look forward to.



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