New Art Projects are delighted to announce the first solo show by Hattie Malcomson.
Hattie Malcomson graduated from her painting degree at the University of Brighton in 2020, this is her first gallery exhibition since leaving University. The central subject of her practice is the process of women empowerment explored within the context of contemporary society. Her interest extends traditional feminism into the here-and-and now by exploring themes of women’s sexuality, beauty standards, sex working, and loneliness.
Her paintings present powerful female protagonists who also question the traditional ideals of beauty. Her female figures appear defiant and are striking confident poses. Conversely their faces deny traditional forms of female beauty. She refers to these women as ‘ugly’ however they are also confrontational and taunting and the gaze of her protagonists is designed to evoke feelings of awkwardness and discomfort in the viewer, and in particular to question the male gaze.
Hattie Malcomson’s figures are confident women, who are engaged in society today and are the subjects of their own destiny. She is seeking to use self-expression to convey universal female truths in her paintings, as a counterpoint to seeing women in painting represented through the eyes of men. She is flipping female objectification on its head and confronting historical notions of how and why women appear in art, and whom they are painted for. She observes that “Due to the male gaze, women have often been painted to appear passive as well as objectified in art history. Contrasting to this, the women in my paintings are the ones in control.”
Her figures are painting in an exuberant palette that extends the vibrancy of a Matisse interior into a whole new world of colour, with purple skin, green hair and bright yellows, and her brushstrokes and thick impasto are reminiscent of Picassos paintings of Dora Maar, however in these works it is the women who are not only in control of the narrative they are also holding the paint brushes.
Notes for editors: Hattie Malcomson won the Cass x Phoenix prize and was awarded a studio in Brighton 2002-21 for a year.