Two hundred and fifty two


1972 by Richard Hamilton
Sims Reed Gallery

Although Hamilton’s work does not look dated, there is something distinctly ‘of a time’ about his work. The soft and blurred edges of his screen-print appear tainted with nostalgia; they are faces of figures that ‘back then’ were something to hide. The darkness and shadow in this image, the cavernous nature of its composition, only encourages this effect of a snapshot in time — of a moment or memory recalled in the whirlwind of a remembered evening. The darkness only encourages the intrigue in this image, which does everything to play to our curiosity. The identities of these people are hidden, yet their persona is surrounded by an atmosphere of cool — grainy and dark, the scene is like a still from a film, catching people worth mentioning unaware in the back of a car or bar corner. The graininess injects an element of grittiness to the image, an edginess of a scene darkly unclear. Hamilton holds us in an air of the unknown with an image that is clearly mid-plot or action; it is clouded with the feeling that there is something to tell. Any light is coming from out of viewpoint, a flash of a camera perhaps, that highlights the shielding hands. These are satisfyingly warmly pink and fleshy, while the remaining light brings out the garish green of figure one’s bold suit, twinkling briefly on the rims of figure two’s 70s-cool glasses. Ultimately though, colour and light are still tarnished with the blurring brush of static; Hamilton is determined to show us this image as if on a screen, provocative in a composition of locked mystery.


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Filed under Twentieth-Century

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