Hermione Carline : statement

Artist Statement

Hermione Carline’s paintings evoke a sensation of light passing through an open window or an aerial overview of a city garden. Her work could be described as an impression or the memory of a room.  She has said that memories, for example of her family home, can be a kind of catalyst for the paintings. They can be seen as an act of remembering or retrospection that still leaves much to the imagination of the viewer so that her paintings can be read on many levels and from many perspectives.

Carline describes her process as layering and obscuring colour almost to the point of destroying the painting, until she perceives a balance in the work. She says, “It is not about pinning down the time or place but about hinting at it or conveying a sense of it”.

This idea of obstruction and veiling really started to emerge after a trip to Japan where Carline was able to observe the various ways in which screens are used to alter space and direct light in traditional Japanese architecture.  By looking out through an opening or from the outside looking in, Carline observes this tension between light and dark and is able to harness these dynamics in her paintings.

Hazy, opaque and layered, Carline uses translucent layers as if they were refractions dancing over a landscape or the play of light on skyscraper windows. White is used as a structural tool in much the same way paper screens are utilized within Japanese architecture. The blocks of white are never solid and often allow a glimpse at the colour just beneath, creating passages of paint that seem to recede into the surface of the painting.

In contrast, her tonally dark paintings show a different dynamic within her body of work: one that is more concerned with shadow and concealment. She has described her process when making the darker paintings as a discovery through destruction. By layering the dark pigments almost to the point of obscuring all light she builds and sculpts the surface of the painting.

There is a three-dimensional quality to the work reinforcing the idea of moving into the world of the painting itself. Carline imbues the work with an immersive and atmospheric quality by using the varying viscosities of paint. Drawing from the shapes and forms of the natural world as well as the varied architecture of her native London, she is able to create work that is abstract but also firmly rooted in the material world.