Chris Hopewell in front of ‘Bang’ 2017

My practice is process driven, applying gestural marks, tones and textures over consecutive layers to create abstracted environments and landscapes in which ‘animistic forms’ are shaped and placed through chance recognition. The layers are spontaneous and inform the direction of the next application. The process typically combines autographic gestures (spontaneous marks with intention) to create the initial composition, followed by a graffiti application that is random and destructive in nature to deliberately obliterate and partially obscure the intent of the preceding outcome. This combination may be repeated several times throughout the course of a painting often resulting in a picture with obscured content that is illogical. I liken this to a form of deconstructive editing. Through this evolution, irregular connections with shapes, shadows, space and movement begin to appear through an observed free association. These are gleaned and honed from the chaos into a final asymmetric design that is constantly moving the eye through the composition. This energy manifests a life within the forms, enticing a discovery to decode their presence inside their spatial environments. This idea initially evolved by incorporating painted layers over photographic collage, inspired through observing the textured surfaces and graffiti over the subway billboards while I lived in New York.

In the last stage an application of black resin is applied to enhance a found form or obscure and blanket part of the composition similar to an eclipse. An eclipse is mysterious because it covers something that still exists, provoking an imagined presence through absence. This phenomenon enhances part of a primitive spiritual energy I strive towards within the forms. The highly reflective layer of resin also provides an interactive surface connecting subconsciously with other parts underneath. My work alludes to notations of recorded time and history, pulling the focus from the earlier under layers back out through the forms to the reflections in black. By having limited focal points in combination with the moving reflections, the composition changes constantly, echoing the idea of randomness ever present in the world around us.

REPRESENTED

Art Collective, W.A. Australia www.artcollective.com.au
Pierogi 2000 Gallery, New York, United States www.pierogi.com

EXPERIENCE

1958Born Northam, Western Australia.
1980Diploma of Teaching, Churchlands Teachers College, WA.
1983B.A. Fine Art, W.A.I.T (now Curtin University), WA.
1987Travelled to New York, lived and painted in East Village squat.  Influenced by graffiti and layered textures on billboards of the city surfaces and subways.
1990Squat burns down. Moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to live with partner, Carol Wells, also an artist. Worked in art direction/production design in music videos, commercials, independent film.
1998Loft building project on 11th Floor, 475 Kent Ave, Williamsburg. A large artist community, work/live studios.
2001Filmed tragic events of 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, footage broadcast worldwide. Continued art practice from Brooklyn studio.
2006Left New York to live in Fremantle, continued art practice from home studio.
2017Moved to Melbourne. Set up art studio in city. Continued art practice between Melbourne and Maine, USA.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2017Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, NSW
2015Art CollectiveWA, WA “Recent Paintings”
2013Art CollectiveWA, WA “Untitled”
2012Perth Galleries, WA “New Work” (with Jeremy Kirwan Ward)
2011Perth Galleries, WA “Paintings”
1994Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, WA “New Works”
1991Greenhill Galleries, WA “Signs in Paradise”

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2019FLUX Gallery, Perth, WA
2019Benefactors Show, Art Collective, WA
2018Benefactors Show, Art Collective, WA
2017Benefactors Show, Art Collective, WA
2016Nyisztor Gallery, WA
2015Bankwest Art Prize, WA
2015Albany Art Prize, WA
2015Nyisztor Gallery, WA
2013Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, NSW
2013Bankwest Art Prize, WA
2013Art Collective, WA
2012City of Joondalup Invitation Art Award, WA
2012Perth Galleries, WA
2011City of Joondalup Invitation Art Award, WA
1998Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, WA
1989Moore’s Building Fremantle, WA
1986Undercroft Gallery, UWA, WA
1984Fremantle Arts Centre, WA

COLLECTIONS

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Bankwest Perth, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University, Kerry Stokes Collection, City of Fremantle, City of Joondalup King Edward Hospital, Minter Ellison, Royal Perth Hospital, Saint John Of God Hospital Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, University of Western Australia, Wesfarmers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABC ARTS TV interview shown on “The Mix” 16 September 2017; ABC online article and video interview by Mary Lloyd “The Australian artist who captured the horror of 9/11 on film” 11 September 2017; Artsource newsletter “Four Painters”, 2010, Phil McNamara; Gotham Times Ten catalogue, p.37 Nikki Miller; Local Talent – Urban Living catalogue, p.37 Jane Philip; “A Voyage of Discovery” by Donald Fitzpatrick The West Australian, 11 May 2001; Images from the Hothouse, The West Australian Newspaper, 15 September 1994; On Show with David Bromfield, The West Australian Newspaper, 17 September 1994; Exhibition catalogue essay by Sandra Murray, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, 1994; Paper Scissors Stone, David Bromfield, The West Australian Newspaper, 25 May 1989; WA Style Magazine, “Messages NY Art”, Renita Glencross, 8 April 1991; On show with David Bromfield, The West Australian Newspaper, 16 March 1991; Julie Prott, The West Australian Newspaper 15 September 1986.