Painting the Imagination: Lucy Hensel, Suki McDonald, Sarah Ruplin & Caroline Steven - 3D virtual exhibition by The Essential School of Painting

Painting the Imagination: Lucy Hensel, Suki McDonald, Sarah Ruplin & Caroline Steven

Di, 09/07/2021Mo, 02/07/2022

curated by:

I grew up in Montreal, and except for eight years in Germany and Switzerland, I have always lived in Canada – until 2009 when I began splitting my calendar year between Ottawa and London. Thanks to Zoom and the speed with which ESOP adapted their teaching strategies to accommodate London’s Covid-related lock-down-regulations in 2020-21, I have been able to attend three terms of ESOP courses, even from quarantine locations or from Canada.

While painting, like most people I suppose, I discover new aspects of myself and retrieve impressions from my past, all the while I am entering new worlds. Another good reason for me to paint is to let go of my conscious self, to exercise my curiosity and imagination while experimenting with oils and acrylics and various tools. And another is very basic: I love moving colours across a surface to create shapes and lines. Increasingly over the past few years, I’ve been intrigued to see what figures and stories appear on my canvas or paper during the process.

This year, with Dan Coombs’ guidance and encouragement, I often started a new canvas using collages or cutouts taken from random sources or from my own drawings. This strategy is evident in several of my paintings in this show. The combination of chance placing and focused positioning of figures/objects in relationship to each other led to ‘adventures’ that usually defied logic and understanding; the work proceeded down new pathways which were intriguing, sometimes exciting, and occasionally open-ended.

Certainly, the two full-year ESOP courses this year taught by Dan Coombs and Melissa Kime were very stimulating for me, triggering new insights and ideas by introducing and discussing innumerable and wide-ranging artists - current and past, their work, strategies and intentions. The challenge is to take at least some of this information and these ideas as catalysts to inform my own work over the months and years ahead, to stimulate, propel and expand my creativity and my imagine

The paintings selected for this exhibition were created in London under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and evolved into a more introspective and personal reflection of daily life. Painting from my studio in a renovated Pie and Mash Shop in Hackney, this work captures life at home, my partner, my dog, and the few places we were able to explore, like Epping Forest. The anthropomorphic poses of the trees transformed into characters performing in their own play -undaunted by a global pandemic.
Sarah Ruplin studied both architecture and fine arts in the United States. She went on to practice architecture, founding Praxis Studio in New York City in 2005. She has exhibited conceptual fashion shows as Noname Collective and has shown artwork at various galleries in Brooklyn, New York.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: PAINTING FROM THE IMAGINATION Often it is quite difficult to find a way in to working from the imagination. How can you create a parallel world in painting, one that expresses the unconscious, the dream, or the hidden parts of the self? Drawing on many devices developed from surrealism and other twentieth century artists, tutor Dan Coombs showed ways to break down the boundaries between the real and the imaginary in artwork This was an online evening course.

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