Hepzibah Swinford: Flowers4U

12 - 29 November 2014
Charlotte Street, London

A self-taught painter, Hepzibah Swinford grew up in London and in a rural Scottish house with a beautiful rose garden, surrounded by Oriental art and by the pictures of her mother, the artist Dora Holzhandler.

 

Primarily a flower painter, Hepzibah's artistic voice – marked by sparkling delicacies and inspired by her love of pattern and motifs on antique and modern fabrics and porcelain, and also by the dynamic colourism of sixties' psychedelia – is intuitively sophisticated and daringly inventive.

 

She is inspired by her small collection at home of china – plates, teacups, vases – and various swatches of often antique materials, along with a scrapbook portfolio of images including Dutch flower paintings, Ming and Meissen porcelain, textile designs ranging from William Morris to Dufy to the Bauhaus, a Matisse still-life, a Miro abstract, a Rajasthani miniature, and seed catalogues with their vivid flowerbed photos.

 

She certainly doesn't start out with voluptuous bouquets of flowers in her studio: 

 

"More likely, there'll be a great seasonal explosion of something, and that'll get my attention. I always start with a background colour, and then just put another colour with it, and then another colour. It's quite unconscious really. It's more like archaeology, actually scraping something away to find the painting that's underneath."     - Hepzibah Swinford

 

 

 Source: Extract from essay by Philip Vann, author of Face to Face: British Self-Portraits in the Twentieth Century, and numerous books on modern Irish and British art.