Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, University of Kent
6 – 17 December 2021 and 17 January – 18 February, 10am – 5pm. Free entrance.
Private View: Friday 10th December 5-7pm.
When the first lockdown hit Italy in the Spring of 2020 the country’s famous piazze, the bustling squares at the heart of its civilisation, fell eerily silent. Empty of the usual crowds, the piazzas became – ‘perhaps for the first time in our lives’, writes curator Marco Delogu in the exhibition catalogue – ‘imaginary places “seen” like this previously only by the great artists and the minds who designed, planned, built and adorned them’. Delogu reacted to this extraordinary situation by coordinating a team of forty photographers and writers to document and respond to the nation’s temporarily unreal squares. The project involved a complex challenge as during lockdown the photographers could only go outside alone and ‘subject to explaining the reason to the relevant authorities’ while ‘for many writers it was difficult to achieve the necessary concentration’. The writers and photographers – ‘piazza partners’ – worked both in dialogue and independently of each other yet for each piazza ‘the results coincided surprisingly’.
The title of the exhibition Le Piazze [In]visibili (Invisible Squares) alludes to Italo Calvino’s famous novel Le città invisibili (Invisible Cities). While he was Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in London, Delogu had met the architectural historian Joseph Rykwert, visiting him in his house in Hampstead where he was shown a first edition of Calvino’s Invisible Cities (1972) with a dedication acknowledging the inspiration of Rykwert’s The Idea of a Town(1963). Rykwert has contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue pointing out that while lockdown impoverished Italy’s piazzas it also provided a rare opportunity to ‘see their complex geometries, their bare bones, and therefore their very structure’.
The exhibition is an initiative of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and is shown at the University of Kent thanks to the generosity of the Italian Cultural Institute in London. Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minster of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, writes of the subject of the exhibition that ‘we are aware that we are facing great challenges, but nonetheless believe that we have the ability to rise to them and draw the impetus needed to overcome them from our sights firmly set on the future’.
Students taking Kent’s MA Curating have worked to adapt the exhibition for installation in Studio 3 Gallery.
Another writer in our series of student reviews, Christine Buckley has been at the University of Kent for four years where she studies History and Philosophy of Art at undergraduate and Masters level. She hopes to continue her studies at PhD level and eventually hold a career in academia.
‘Quiet Still Life’
Quiet Still Life (2010) immediately caught my attention because I felt it was different from the other pieces in the exhibition. Hilton’s style in this piece uses muted colours and artistic skills to create a visually outstanding art work. The greyish blue tone of the piece which incorporates hints of white and includes colouring the frame in the same way works very well and creates a piece which is coherent. It is also one of the pieces in the show that really showcase Hilton’s abilities as an artist. What is depicted is quite clear and expertly executed. I feel that a lot of thought went into making this piece an artwork that needs to be looked at deeply to intrigue thoughts within the viewers as it did with me. This is a stand-out piece in the show that is a testament to Hilton’s skills which uses subtlety and precision. Quiet Still Life has the elegance to steal the show.
You are warmly invited to join us on Wednesday November 26th for a conversation between Rose Hilton and curator Dr Ben Thomas.
The pair will discuss our current exhibition that features 26 of Hilton’s lyrical, sensitive and joyful canvases including recent landscapes, still-lifes, interiors and nudes, as well as key works from earlier in the artist’s career, such as the poignant Roger’s Room (1973) depicting her late husband, the artist Roger Hilton.
Refreshments will be available from 17:30, and the talk will begin at 18:00.
Tickets are free, but booking is recommended due to the limited capacity of the gallery. Please book your place here:http://ow.ly/Dds7b
Studio 3 Gallery at the University of Kent is pleased to present Giving Life to Painting a new major exhibition of works by Rose Hilton. Featuring over twenty-five pieces, these works exemplify Hilton’s sensitive and empathic use of colour and form to capture the intangible sensibilities of her landscape and her models.
Hilton was born in Leigh, near Tonbridge, and grew up there as part of a strict Plymouth Brethren family. She studied art at Beckenham School of Art, and then at the Royal College of Art, where she was part of a brilliant generation of students including Robyn Denny, Richard Smith, David Hockney, Joe Tilson. She married the painter Roger Hilton in 1965 and moved with him to Cornwall, where she has lived ever since, forming part of the well-known St. Ives school. This exhibition marks Hilton’s return to her home county of Kent and will be held in conjunction with a parallel exhibition at Messum’s Gallery in London.
Exhibition dates: September 29 to December 19
Private View: Saturday October 4, 18:00 to 20:00
Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 17:00
Image: Rose Hilton, Blue Café, 2007, oil on canvas, courtesy of Messum’s Gallery http://www.messums.com/