Coll Hamilton

“Moments Of Being” New Show Opening at Art Pistol on 2nd Sep 2017.

Current Artist Statement

The paintings on display in a new show in Art Pistol Gallery were created during a new phase of my ambition to create narratives within images.

In trying to convey stories within paintings and drawings I have been acutely aware of the element of time – of trying to capture within one instant the legacy of moments that have gone before.

The flower has always seemed to me to be a visual motif that captures this sense of time passing in an impactful and powerful way.

The life span of a flower is easily observable to humans. The act of cutting flowers to display seems to be an act that effectively illustrates the fragility and brevity of life and our desire to capture and savour moments of beauty within it. Cut flowers allow the colours, shapes, fragrances involved in their existence to be closely observed and appreciated while paradoxically cutting this existence shorter – the sensory experience has become all the more vital because we have hastened the flowers demise.

A heightened moment of beauty leads to an intensified witnessing of decay and entropy, of time passing and a story told.

I was exploring these ideas when my good friend Lauren introduced me to the works of Virginia Woolf, the importance of flowers as an emblem within her writing and her concept of “moments of being”.

Woolf’s writings reveal her belief that life seems to be divided between a great deal of ordinary activity and exceptional moments that function as a form of “revelation”.

These moments of intense experience are captured within Woolf’s writings as explorations of her characters’ memories and thoughts and feelings. We delve into their inner lives as these moments are sparked by objects or sights. In a novel like “Mrs Dalloway” which is saturated with the image of flowers, the flower acts as a symbol which unlocks greater feeling and experience.

The flower creates a change to the self in that moment and leads to a heightened sense of identity through reflection on time that has passed. It transforms “non-being” to a “moment of being”.

The facial expressions, the eyes and the physical stances of the characters within the paintings and drawings I create give – I hope – some access to their inner lives. Ill continue to explore the power of the combination of people and flowers to create narratives. I’ll also continue to explore the writings of Virginia Woolf.

Previous Artist Statement

Coll Hamilton’s work has always been very narrative driven and seeks to conjure moments from ongoing stories for the viewer to interpret and engage with. He tries to create exchanges between characters in the images and explore the relations between the figures and their environments. Over the last couple of years a strand of Coll’s work has become more focused on single figures within an image.

“I’ve become increasingly interested in what sometimes seems like a necessity (at least for me) for isolation and time spent alone in the process of creativity.  I’d read Sara Maitland’s book “A Book Of Silence” about the experience of silence and solitude. The book examines the possibilities contained within silence and the need for quiet and solitude and how these can actually be positive and even essential experiences that are increasingly less honoured and provided for in modern life. This inspired me to create a series of drawings called “An Observance Of Hermits” – images of people caught in moments of solitude. I tried to capture expressions in the faces of the characters to portray that these moments of feeling alone can be sought after and provide peace and inspiration  – alone doesn’t always mean lonely and silence can be something we crave”.