Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nichollas Hamper. Whats On Where to go. Contemporary Art Society. 1984

Nichollas Hamper. G.L.C. Spirit of London Prize 1984

Mr Hamper`s painting which won the Arthur Guinness prize for a painting illustrating a record from the Guinness Book of Records, is called Battersea Power Station. I`m not clear which particular record he intended to illustrate, but his painting certainly deserves a place itself in that illustrious organ - onto it Hamper has crammed more action than any artist except for, perhaps, Pieter Breughel or Jasper Johns! The famous 1930s landmark of British industry of the title dominates the top of the painting, the sky is filled with aircraft, an airship (they were made locally), cranes, trees and a Union Jack; on the river bank are pin men people, dancing, watching TV, taking a bath in a tub, working, fishing and unwisely diving off the embankment into the river for a swim; the famous all-night tea stand on the bridge is there, as is the dogs` home, a train on its way to Subiton, and a fork lift truck; plying the river are warships, pleasure craft and even a swimmer, a bottle and a friendly dolphin; and crossing the bridge over the Thames is every form of transport from a double decker bus to a steam roller. The whole is executed in rust red and steel grey, borrows its style from advertisments from the "thirties" and is a delightfully humorous work.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Nichollas Hamper at the Slade School of Art. 1978-9

Nichollas Hamper at the Royal College of Art. 1981

TOY TOWN REVOLUTION: Paintings and drawings by Nichollas Hamper

It is hard to ignore a painting by Nichollas Hamper. They scream for attention, dazzel us when we look and then force us to inspect their busy scenes.Once hooked we find ourselves in a strange world where the comic can easily turn into a nightmare. Beneath their shimmery surfaces and toy town charm that initially lure us, there lies a deeper sense of menace. we find the pleasant English countryside inhabited by mechanical rabbits and automaton farmers; a vase of sunflowers becomes, at second glance, a bouqet of buzz-saw blades, while the sun or moon that illuminates these scenes casts steely blue beams more like razor blades than than rays of light. In the depiction of a toy town revolution Hamper gives irony to the false promises of the machine age from the perspective of post industrialism. For all this, the paintings remain essentially optimistic,although rigidly stylized the images presented to us are so full of vitality that you feel they may vibrate them selves off the wall.