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'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Cotton, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Cotton,
2006, oil on linen, 72 x 64 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Butcher, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Butcher,
2007, oil on linen, 87 x 65 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Via Dolorosa, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Via Dolorosa,
2007, oil on linen, 84 x 48 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Dye, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Dye,
2006, oil on linen, 26 x 30 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Madonna in Dark Glass, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Madonna in Dark Glass,
2006, acrylic on linen, 58 x 46 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Mexico City, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Mexico City,
2007, oil on linen, 68 x 50 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Mirror, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Mirror,
2006, oil on linen, 84 x 42 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Monkey House, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Monkey House,
2007, oil on linen, 80 x 64 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Nocturnal, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Nocturnal,
2007, oil on linen, 64 x 72 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Untitled, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Untitled,
2006, oil on linen, 26 x 20 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Untitled , Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Untitled ,
2006, oil on linen, 30 x 26 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Werner Herzog, Kawait, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Werner Herzog, Kawait,
2007, oil on linen, 36 x 50 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
No More Than This, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, No More Than This,
2007, oil on linen, 48 x 78 inches
© Fredrik Nilsen 2007
Danced For Any Celebration, Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Danced For Any Celebration,
© Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami Gallery
Stone (Yellow) , Hope AthertonHope Atherton, Stone (Yellow) ,
2012 , Glazed ceramic , 10 x 5.5 x 5 inches
© Courtesy of the Artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art
For her second solo exhibition at Patrick Painter, Inc. Hope Atherton presents an ensemble of new paintings infused with atmospheric substance and the melancholic sense of an eerie, other-wordly fantasy.Atherton creates a very private universe inspired by intense emotion and ancient objects; a universe that gives new meaning to the Renaissance idea of painting offering a "window into space". It...[more]

Interview with Hope Atherton
Los Angeles - Amber Noland had the pleasure of meeting up with the very eloquent Hope Atherton, who had just flown in from New York for her second solo show at Patrick Painter, Inc. in Santa Monica, CA. Her paintings embody moody atmospheres with layers of spirituality, fantasy and cinematic narratives that evoke a sense of perpetual transition and melancholy.   Being raised on a farm  in Virginia, and the natural way of moving through the experiences that that inherently presents, and her fascination with fantasy, informs her work with a sense of  magic and emotion.

Amber Noland: You have an overriding sense of light in your approach to painting, is this intentional?

Hope Atherton: It definitely was, especially compared to the last show with Patrick Painter (2004). The paintings then were very dark, as they were the first paintings I made after doing sculpture.  It was like I was making the paintings in these caves and then over time I wanted to paint the light instead of painting the things that are dark and hidden.  I wanted to convey a sense of light, of energy, communicate a sense of vibrance, something that was more living and less hidden.  The most recent work (at Bortolami Dayan in NY 2006) was more abstract.  Those paintings were more about capturing a pure light energy, an atmosphere, and communicating that in an abstract way.

AN:  Are you painting narratives of a moment that has passed?

HA:  They are cinematic, almost voyeuristic in a sense.   The way that I work is that I take a lot of photos of situations and collage them together.  Its usually a moment that strikes me, that something as simple as a house at dusk can convey a mood, like a clip, like a slice of a moment, where it is understood that there is a whole world in that moment, and it doesn't matter when or where the image is taken from, it is more about the mood that it sets.  I am interested in taking tangible things from reality, pieces of information, clips of something that you recognize but that don’t have a linear sense, and communicating the mystery that it evokes.

AN:  There is a sense of loss communicated in your work.  Can you tell me more about that?

HA:  It's more about melancholy, and the sense of being in between or in transition.  Like the moment is passing you but you are constantly in that transition every time you look at the painting.   I am interested in that sensation and the combination of light in that moment, and the balance of lightness and darkness in the moment that is fear, beauty, warmth, comfort , and how they interact.  It’s the conversation between those elements that communicates the creation of the painting.  I am interested in the intersections of moments of reality.  Like the way that you actually experience life is in these kinds of strange details.  Painting the combination of literal and perceived information is important to me, for example, shadows have as much information as a face.

AN:  Are you making sculpture anymore?

HA:  I haven't made sculptures in awhile.  I was always a painter, it’s just that I got really obsessed with wanting to make something three dimensional with my hands. At that time it felt more like I could really get to this notion of creating a ritual object, making something and being able to name it.   It was like traditional voodoo, I am going to make an object and tell you that this is a tooth of a saint, or a relic. 

I got to the end of that branch when I realized the perfection in things that exist already, as they are  naturally. Painiting provided a window to go behind the object. I love the physicality of making an object, but the world of painting and the directness of painting is what appeals to me.  I am interested in what I can convey with a simple mark on canvas.

AN:  You grew up on a farm in Warrenton Virginia, at what point did you know you were an artist?

HA:  Growing up in the country gives you a different language. It is a much more solitary and imaginary world. I was always comfortable going with the intuitive side.  It’s a more organic sense of moving through the world so I never really knew that there was any other way of being.

AN:  It was really clear in your early body of work how growing up on a farm was translated.  How does that inform your work today?

HA:  The language that I work with has more to do with experience.  I am interested in the experience of how one goes through the world alone. There is a lot of focus on the boxed in experience and what I am interested in communicating is a more rural process, one that is more outside rather than inside.  I am less wrapped up in the commercial elements, and more comfortable communicating through a more intuitive language.

ArtSlant would like to thank Hope Atherton for her assistance in making this interview possible.

--Amber Noland

(Image courtesy of Hope Atherton)


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