Louise Hopkins is an artist living and working in Glasgow, Scotland.
She makes paintings and drawings directly onto surfaces that already contain information; world maps, patterned furnishing fabric, comics, catalogue pages, magazine pages, photographs, folded or crumpled paper and sheet music.
‘With an experimental approach, she starts with her own physical gesture to explore colour, form and mark-making, using pencil, ink or paint (…) The relationship between the original and new surface is ambiguous. The printed materials she chooses often have social or political associations. The certainty that maps, shopping magazines or manufactured textiles might offer seems to be questioned when they are transformed into a painting or drawing.
Among Hopkins’s earliest works are those produced on furnishing fabric, such as Aurora 13 (1996). Although prepared in the same way a canvas would be made ready for a traditional painting – stretched over a wooden frame and painted with layers of translucent gum – the found fabric is reversed to present a shadow of the ‘real’ print. Hopkins has meticulously painted over this ghostly image, leaving a section exposed. On first glance it is not clear what has been painted, and what existed before.
Hopkins’s works suggest a chain of contrasts – between mass-produced and handcrafted, reality and artifice, positive and negative, surface and depth, hidden and exposed. In an increasingly fast-paced, image-led world, Hopkins’s interventions are labour-intensive and time-consuming. She slows down time, inviting us to absorb the information she eradicates or exposes through the physical act of painting. In this way, she makes us question the things we see – not only in her work, but in the world around us.’ Lucy Askew (1).
‘Her elegant exposure of the tension between the printed image and the hand-made mark is a rejection of expressive traditions in painting but is accompanied by an understated but often emotional undertow. What does it mean when a map of Europe is altered to obliterate the sea between us and mainland Europe? Or when all the oceans appear to run dry?’ Moira Jeffrey (2).
‘Catalogue pages depicting jewellery and tools have been fancifully doctored to include severed sausagey fingers, ringed-through like felled trees, inside diamond rings, while DIY saws appear to have decapitated a series of crowned/dunce-capped women…Hopkins’s new narratives are, perhaps, more trashy, the means through which she undermines the authority of public material, more irreverent than we’re used to. While beauty and tactility play a part, as ever, in luring us to each surface, what we witness upon arrival is so much more than pretty’. Rebecca Geldard (3).
In 2016 a group of Hopkins's works were included in The Scottish Endarkenment: Art and Unreason 1945 to the present at Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh. In 2015/16 a group of 7 works were included in the exhibition Dévider le reel at Les Abattoirs, FRAC Midi-Pyrenees. In 2014 she had a one-person exhibition Black Sea, White Sea as part of GENERATION, the celebration of 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland. In 2007 she was one of 6 artists to represent Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale. In 2005 she had a major one-person exhibition Freedom of Information at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.
(1) Askew, Lucy Generation Guide/Reader; National Galleries of Scotland, 2014
(2) Jeffrey, Moira, Caught in the crossfire, The Scotsman, 30th August 2014
(3) Geldard, Rebecca Rebecca Geldard’s Top Ten shows in London. Saatchi Art website 2009