Mature, fresh, spooky, subversive
An exhibition of affordable art by two very distinctive women artists runs at Burgh House in Hampstead from Thursday January 15th to February 1st.
Judy Wheaton's bold, large format line drawings in charcoal and pastel celebrate the female figure from a fresh, female perspective.
Agnes Hay’s “wire drawings”, captured photographically from tiny mobile sculptures, are a new kind of line drawing, which moves between the human form and abstraction.
As mature women artists, now in their 60s, both are something of a rarity in the art world today.
Judy Wheaton was already well into her 50s when she discovered her potential talent as an artist. She went to an art class simply to give moral support to a friend who was too shy to go alone. The class was being run by the sculptor Heather Jansch (muse and ex-wife of guitarist Bert Jansch), who handed Judy sheet of paper, stuck a piece of charcoal in her left hand - and told her to join in.
“I’m rubbish at drawing,” said Judy. Accepting no excuses, Heather just told her to get on with it. When Judy, who is normally right-handed, switched the charcoal to her right hand, Heather told her to put it back in her left. “If you really are rubbish it won’t make any difference.”
So Judy began moving the charcoal over the paper - and a finely proportioned drawing of a woman flowed out. Judy was so taken aback that she rushed out of the room. “It felt as though someone else had done it, not me”.
Spooky, inexplicable, but this new found ability to work almost effortlessly with her non-dominant hand soon became irresistibly compelling. Judy credits it with “changing my personality from uptight to unbuttoned".
Agnes Hay is celebrated for her experimental art and films in her native Hungary. Her wire drawings featured in the exhibition at Burgh House are created by projecting light through small, suspended figures made of bent wire onto photographic paper.
Regarded as subversive during the Communist era, she was the partner of the dissident György Krassó, who came to London in 1985 to escape persecution by the authorities in his own country and worked for the BBC. He returned to Budapest four years later to establish a new political party and is now hailed as one of Hungary’s greatest modern patriots. (There is a commemorative plaque in his honour in Russell Square.)
Agnes now lives with their daughter in Holborn. A wide range of her other highly original drawings, films and animations can be seen at www.ndr.hu/HA/
To bring their work to as wide as public as possible the drawings - ranging from small A5 wire drawing to bold A1 charcoal figure studies - are being offered very affordably at prices from £60 to £395.
The exhibition runs from January 15th to February 1st at Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead NW3 1LT.
There will be also be a special evening viewing on Wednesday January 21st for those who would like to meet the artists and learn more about their work. Composer Steve Moyes will also be performing on the electric cello to accompany an animated film of Agnes Hay's work.
For more information please contact exhibition organizer Robert Eagle on 020-8995-1884 or email email@example.com.