Night Sky

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Path, 2012 Edition variable Reduction Woodcut Edition 6, 183 X 117 Cm © Courtesy of the Artist and Flowers Central
Night Sky

21 Cork Street
London W1S 3LZ
United Kingdom
March 20th, 2013 - April 20th, 2013

+44 020 7439 7766
Mon-Sat 10-6


Tom Hammick’s work is concerned with using landscape as  metaphor: for the human condition, states of mind, and a sense of  love and loss for our natural world.

Expanding upon his recent exploration into depictions of the  English landscape through the aesthetics of Japonism, Hammick’s  new woodcuts show an alteration into his approach to space.

He confronts the relationship between figure, ground and pattern with the conjunction of inside and outside spaces. Flattening and  stretching the expanse within the composition, he creates a utilitarian minimalism of the basic components of a picture.

As the viewer experiences these works together, they witness (Hammick create) a journey through several panoramas. Hammick stretches  a visual narrative across the surface of the picture; the same lone figures reappear through several of his compositions, altering senses of  time.

A common tradition throughout Asian art history sees the  woodcut used to depict the repetition of the same figures as they  move though the countryside. As a painter, and in particular as a  printmaker, Hammick has been influenced by looking at traditions  of art outside Western culture including Japanese print and film,  Chinese scroll painting and Indian miniatures. Hammick can be  seen to create a visual equivalent of Buddhist and Confucian  contemplation of the relationship between humankind and nature. 

Since the Daiwa show he has explored Asian image making in relation to formal and spatial arrangements within the picture plane. The  imagery in his paintings and woodcuts have shifted from the actual experience of natural phenomena in landscape, towards a more  imaginary and mythological dreamscape; a positive counterpoint to a world in crisis, focused on the simple life..( See Island Studio)  Sourced in part from drawings and photographs made in the area where he lives (on the edge of the Weald in East Sussex) these new  works have also been inspired by Asian texts that describe living life in a shack in the wilderness. Specifically Po Chi-i’s moving account  of inhabiting his thatched hall on Mount Lu; Kamo No Chomei’s  beautiful description of living in a ten foot square hut on Mount  Hino; (with a geopolitical backdrop of famine, war and uncertainty)  and Matsuo Basho’s sunnier and more upbeat rendition of his  6-month sojourn on the shore of Lake Biwa, east of Kyoto, have all  been influential. These writings hot-wire you into the overpowering  and heightening experiences of living a simple and weather-beaten  life in the countryside. Many ancient Chinese scroll paintings,  Japanese prints and screens allude to this less cluttered way of  life, bound with the rotation of the seasons. Hammick’s work  celebrates this more local form of artistic existence, one in which  a simple life conjures clarity which in turn enables the way of the  world to be more intelligible.

Lately, Hammick has been using recurring motifs that include a  shed, a studio, a simple house, a raft with geodesic shelter, set  in a flattened out landscape/seascape, to investigate a more  celebratory relationship between dwelling and environment. These  are combined to express both how fragile our interwoven existence  on Earth is, and how precarious and delicate the nurturing of the  creative process is for an artist. For Hammick this is a theme  of wonder and a possible answer in the quest for contentment  in life. In essence, these pictures dwell on quite personal  requirements for happiness: a love of the natural world, and  as far as possible, simplicity in living.

Born in Tidworth, UK in 1963 Tom Hammick studied History  of Art at the University of Manchester (1982-85) before  obtaining both his Fine Art BA Hons and Printmaking MA at  Camberwell College of Art (1987-90 and 1990-92).  As well as exhibiting in Canada, New York, Nova Scotia and  Dublin Hammick has exhibited widely in galleries and venues  including: Flowers Gallery, Eagle Gallery, Redfern Gallery,  Standpoint Gallery, Deutsche Bank, Studio 21, Chipping  Camden Gallery, Brighton Museum Art Gallery, RCA and  Cadogen Contemporary. His works are in many collections  including: The British Museum, De Beers, The Royal London  Hospital, Victoria and Albert Museum, Groucho Club, London  and Yale Centre for British Art, University of Washington  Medical Centre, Seattle, Scripps Women’s Centre, San Diego,  USA.