Georgie Hopton at Poppy Sebire
19 May 2012 § Leave a comment
I finally made it to Poppy Sebire’s gallery space at All Hallows Hall, Copperfield Street, Southwark. I had heard much about Sebires’ gallery but had never managed it make it over there. The space and location alone is worth a visit.
It nestles between what looks like a well-loved small community garden, Alms houses and what looks like the smartest London Fire Brigade centre in London. Literally a stones’ throw from the Jerwood Project Space, this disused church hall has been minimally converted into a great showing space. Actually the word ‘converted’ sounds a little too prissy for what is really a good smartening up with a good lick of paint. Like a retired ballet dancer, the hall oozes good bone structure that has worn time well.
Complimenting their temporary home perfectly Georgie Hopton’s diverse artworks engaged me fully as soon as I walked in . Hoptons’ work immediately felt fresh, different, articulate and beautifully presented.
Hoptons’ works has a handcrafted aesthetic that is redolent of the Arts & Crafts movement. In fact, her work chimes very well with the Zeitgeist. Having lived though the recent boom and bust years, many people are forging a more meaningful relationship with the simpler things in life. Gardening, knitting, a make do and mend mindset seems quite pervasive at this moment in time. Hopton seems to have a long established passion for gardening, eating the fruits of her labour and the beauty of nature as it dwindles into its twilight phase.
In ‘The Wounded Tulip’ Hopton uses pretty much every medium to demonstrate her vision of a beautiful simple life. Fecundity is tamed with her pared down mark making. Block printing using vegetables and then also the stems ‘A Wet Season’s Veg Print (xvi) that grew them are used to create simple, beautiful collages. Curtains are hand painted with stylised tulips ‘Wounded Tulip Repeat Domestic Sculpture’. But for me, the star pieces are her sculptures and mirrored photographs. Playing deftly between media, Hopton transposes dimensionalities between the two media. Photographs become three dimensional through the clever use of mirror borders ‘ Bruised Tulip’ and ‘ Wounded Tulip from Behind’ and sculptures see-saw between flat planes bringing to life the cushioned decorative nature of how flowers are often depicted – on cushions and soft furnishings.
The highlight of the show is ‘Submission’ a Jesmomite sculpture of a Tulip ripe with fertile seedhead yet absolutely at the moment of collapse; it simply no longer can bear its own weight. Hoptons skill eeks sympathy and love for a forsaken object from the viewer.
On the train home, I remember the Spalding Flower Festival my parents would take me too as a young kid. Tulips are a major part of the local economy and are feted in this completely over the top parade of themed floats made entirely from flowers and I cannot help but think a giant Wounded Tulip should be right up their street.