The Bigger Picture: Wendy Freestone & Harriet Selka - 3D virtual exhibition by The Essential School of Painting

The Bigger Picture: Wendy Freestone & Harriet Selka

Tue, 09/07/2021 to Mon, 02/07/2022

curated by:

Wendy Freestone is an interdisciplinary artist, born in a RAF hospital in Wendover Bucks. Her heritage is Liverpool but she is now based in south Northants. This is Wendy’s second career, she graduated in 2005, with a BA First Class honours, in Fine Art. She has recently had her work included in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the following year won a Royal Artist Prize. She exhibits across the UK and worldwide.
Her first love is sculpture. Her figurative sculptures radiate a feeling of grounding and togetherness, particularly when seen as a group. Wendy masters the fine balance of weight and fragility. Her portraits begin on the canvas but will happily incorporate found materials. Whether her work is sculpture or painting there is usually a group, implying a longing to be part of something and evoking a sense of wanting to belong. The heartache in her colourful Bingo Portraits resonates to your bones in an unmistakably familiar way.
Wendy spent the beginning of the pandemic donating portraits of NHS nurses to various charities. The subject matter of her portraits is never a simple self-portrait,
“I am disinterested in myself - my face as a subject for painting. I prefer ‘the make believe’. My portraits are no one but could be anyone. I have an instinctive NEED to create everyday”.

People and the spaces they inhabit are at the core of Harriet’s artistic practice. A body movement, a vulnerable private moment, or the way someone occupies a space often inspires the beginning of a painting. She seeks to record emotion, energy, beauty and truth.

Harriet is currently exploring societal expectations of young adults through her perception of how she fits, or doesn’t fit into these conventions. Harriet is taking ownership of her narrative through these paintings.

As a survivor of childhood cancer, Harriet is acutely aware of the fragility of the human condition. There is a conflict between Harriet’s desire to evoke strong emotion and her fear of exposing herself which creates an emotive tension. The conversation created between subtlety and vigour in Harriet’s mark-making suggests a precarious sense of fragility. What is left unspoken offers space to reflect and imagine.

As well as working with the physical medium of paint, Harriet utilises photography in her artistic practice. Immersed in the emotion, energy, beauty and truth of an event, a camera records the fleeting moments that can later stand alone as records of precious memories, and which can also be distilled to inform future paintings. The imperfect accidents that occur within the body of a camera — whether analogue or digital — can seep into the texture of a painting.

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