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Camilla Wilson
New Artists


Purdy Hicks

March 22 - April 20, 2002

work: four pieces


A group exhibition featuring artists new to the gallery, in which I exhibited 4 paintings. The paintings for this exhibition addressed another East End commodity, as with the wholesale fashion industry of Whitechapel (see Euro Miss): the wrapped bouquets of Columbia Road’s flower market. The issue was the representation of these twofold images (flowers within cellophane), technically speaking, and to find a painterly rationale for a specific and contemporary interpretation of flower painting.

Historically flower painting, in particular the Dutch tradition has embodied various meanings, and springs from differing contexts, from the metaphorical vanitas to paintings which consciously display colonial acquisitions and horticultural expertise (Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked). Here of course the bouquets are commodities, and furthermore nature re-created as a floating signifier for social gestures and emotions, and as token in social rituals.

Frequent visits to Columbia Road involved selection of bouquets, which were then photographed. Out of these photographs I developed further the technique of monochrome painting which recalled both the photographic colour positive and the retinal after image. The technique is also reminiscent of early photography, for example the "photogenic drawings" of Fox Talbot. As the flowers were seen through a layer of cellophane, the technique involved painting 2 apparent layers in one layer of colour, orange, then wiping over the image at points where the highlights on the plastic denied a view of the flowers within. The mimimal means gave a "virtual" image, which floated on the paintings’ ground, constructing a shallow space around the object.

This work was later exhibited at UGM Maribor, Slovenia, in 2006.

Purdy Hicks New Artists press release

related outcome:
Camilla Wilson: Euro Miss

back to Camilla Wilson home page

London Metropolitan University