Coll Hamilton is a Glasgow based artist who studied at GSA. His works are narrative driven figurative paintings and studies. His preferred medium is acrylic, but he has recently started to explore with oils.
“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”.