Hexen Studio's first exhibition as a collective opened last night at The Cob Gallery with work by Hugo Hamper and Jack Penny on the walls. Hugo and Jack, the latter whose work has subsequently influenced the former’s sea change in style have produced a radical new series: 'Reaction To’. The exhibition was an exclamation of intent from the two emerging artists and resembled the work of David Bomberg in his post-expulsion-from-art-school audacity, particularly the 'Reaction to The Night' and ‘Reaction to The Heat’ both large scale works which served to draw the viewer in and engulf one in their painterly jagged marks. The latter, the largest painting in the series, recalls Bomberg's strong palette and determination and dominates the room empowering the other pictures. The subject matter an interesting contrast to Bomberg's post war images, these were reactions to the modern day generic quotidian.
Hugo and Jack live and work together, ‘influencing and inspiring each other’ in these ‘purely emotional responses’ that they have produced between them. Hexen Studio was formed in 2015 bringing together of a young group of creatives who all wanted to form a platform to jump off from together and be influenced by. Jack's style has developed since graduating from Northbrook University in 2013 and it was seeing his work that shook Hugo out of his clean and classic Florence Academy stupor. It was Hugo who got in touch with Jack in order to propose sharing a studio to begin with, interestingly both artists have an energy about their work which belies their calm and laid back personalities.
The images I particularly liked were Jack's studies 'Study for Reaction to Isolation' V.1 and V.2 in their simple style they reminded me of Chantal Joffe, the youngest member of the Royal Academy and her wonderfully naive portraits. The colour and fire of imagination is clear to see and in fact all the studies were attractive. It is a shame when artists leave out their preparatory work from an exhibition, studies sometimes being as, if not more interesting than the final image and these works demonstrated showed an unrestricted skill which was rather more controlled in the large scale paintings which were the conclusion of these ideas.
Until 11 March 2016
The Cob Gallery
205 Royal College Street, London NW1 OSG
Wednesday-Saturday 12-6 or by appointment
Written by Beatrice Hasell-McCosh Editorial Assistant at Arteviste.com