4–10 July 2022
PV 5 July 2022, 6.30–8.30 pm
B.1990. Harriet Pattinson trained for three years in traditional portraiture in Florence. After finishing art school, Harriet worked as a commissioned portrait artist in her London Studio. Her work was exhibited in many prestigious competitions such as the RP and the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize, and is owned in private collections throughout the UK and Europe. Harriet’s work has since evolved from her traditional training, allowing her own voice to emerge. Her style combines figurative skills cut through to create a form of abstraction. This is her first solo show of a cohesive body of work.
This exhibition was born from the Covid lockdowns and the deep sense of unravelling that ensued.. Normality was upended and all the reassuringly solid ground we had built our lives upon buckled. This led Harriet to question her own sense of “self” and to look more broadly at how our deeply desired and rooted sense of self develops over time and becomes fixed, creating a false source of comfort.
Far from concrete, the self is jigsaw puzzle-like and fragile. The sum of our individual experiences, it does not follow a linear truth but is fluid and ever-changing. Harriet explores this by disjointing an image and using oil paint to portray its fragmentary and layered parts.
The self is made up of memories, gathered over time and assembled and reassembled to form a “whole”. Synonyms of “whole” are words such as “in one piece”, “unbroken”, ‘flawless” and “unmutilated” all of which are in opposition to Harriet’s paintings. She is creating a “broken whole”, a “mutilated entity” – “a canvas of exit wounds”.
Harriet uses monochrome versus colour palettes in her paintings to play on the capricious nature of memory. It is said that when we remember something we are merely remembering the last time we remembered it, thus all memories are transitory and layered. The black and white suggests the fixed version of our memory in counterpoint to the colourful, unfixed reality of it. Harriet’s fractured work portrays the subject from different angles, positions and colours leaving a viewer unsettled and curious.
Each painting holds some personal truth for Harriet through the use of symbols, associations and memories, making them a collection of somewhat strange self portraits.