Sam Hacking – Crossing the Open Place at A-Side B-Side, Hackney, Nov 2017 – To say these are delightful little paintings really does do them a disservice, they are delightful little paintings though, they do appear rather delightful, warm and evocative, very English, delightful countryside, warm greens, delightful landscape, especially warm on a cold November Thursday night in Hackney, delightful paintings. There’s a little more here though, there’s a little more down that lane or beyond that fence. something under that tree, to say these are delightful little paintings really does do them a massive disservice Don’t know much about Sam Hacking, it was an image on a gallery e.mail earlier today that pricked the curiosity, a need to go tonight’s opening and see it in the painting we saw on line is as good in the flesh as it looked on a computer screen earlier this afternoon (and hope there’s one or two more besides the one that was so enticing on a cold windy night like this).
A-Side B-side is an intimate gallery, you find it at the top of Mare Street, just over the road from Hackney Central Station, the building looks more suited to an estate agent office or a florist or something, not much room in here on an opening night, great big window and you do almost have to shove people out of the way to see the art on an opening night – get out of the damn way, don’t just stand there with your back to the art blocking the view with your chatter and your wine.
There’s two brightly lit walls, fifteen or so small oil paintings, delightfully evocative paintings, delightful English landscapes, almost traditional, but there’s something a little more here, or maybe something a little less? Besides the occasional telegraph pole, there’s very little evidence of anyone being anywhere near the views we’re delighting in, you are kind of thinking there might be something more down that empty path or just over that hill, something just beneath that big sky…
“My work over the years has been almost a personal documentation of my anxiety, echoing the different stages of agoraphobia I’ve experienced over time. It is a tethering to how far I’ve come. Each one is a marker for my journey outward, away from being house bound to literally moving across the country over the years. Time becomes compressed and stationary. In the beginning I was repeatedly painting an image of a field, behind my house as that’s as far as I could physically travel, whereas nowadays the paintings are born from anywhere in the U.K due to being able to travel with more relative ease. What will be really interesting is what’ll happen to the paintings when I can get abroad, or whether they’ll be about my agoraphobia at all anymore.”
Growing up in Norfolk and Suffolk has apparently influenced her work, “with a nod to flat horizons and marshlands. But what’s interesting is how the paintings are constructed to dictate how you move into them. There are obstacles that the viewer either has to stop at or navigate around”. There’s something a little more here than just the delight, far more than just delightful little paintings, those paths really have something about them, those skies aren’t quite “right”, you do get a sense of something being there – “In spite of her paintings being executed with great detail, they’re far from photographic or realistic and remain as landscapes in a suspended state”. To say these are delightful little paintings really does do them a very big disservice, there’s something a little more down those paths, well worth venturing out on a cold Thursday night in November, delightful paintings, need to go back without all the people, need to go look down those paths a little more… (sw)
A-side B-side Gallery is at 352 Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8 1HL The Sam Hacking show runs until November 28th
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