Charlie Hammond’s work in painting, printmaking and sculpture carries out a serious play with the materials and processes of art. A keen sense of the ridiculous – in art and in life – is often evident in the things he makes. So too is his deep thinking about art’s history and its place in the contemporary world. Hammond’s ability to turn the difficult task of producing art into an enjoyable process makes him a gifted and prolific collaborator. As well as being a member of the artist collective Poster Club, he has often worked with peers such as artists Michael Bauer, Jonathan Owen, Torsten Lauschmann and Anne-Marie Copestake.
In recent years Hammond has focused especially on painting. He usually works in series that explore a theme through a set of specific approaches to the conventions and materials of the medium. For example, his Sweats series of paintings use techniques such as duplicating hand-painted marks by applying a roller to the wet paint, or cutting out sections of works to form figures and gluing them to other canvases. These works use a simple, cartoon-like motif depicting a sweaty armpit to suggest that work is their subject matter. These approaches can all be seen in Sweating in the Landscape / Enterprise Valley (2012). Instead of making the act of painting seem either heroic or leisurely, the Sweat paintings imply that it is a messy, dirty business. A recent work in this series titled Sweaty Sink (2013) compares the work of painting with another activity that involves using brushes to move liquid around – doing the washing up.
In an earlier series, Hammond applied imitation paint-squirts, made of glazed ceramic, to stained canvases. Here the basic options for how paint is applied – the artist can let it soak into the canvas or build up upon it – were playfully made into the content of the pictures themselves. These elements were used to suggest faces, bottoms or fragments of cars. Hammond calls these latter works Exploded Vehicles. Painting itself is a kind of ‘exploded vehicle’ in his art; it provides him with useful bits and pieces that can be put together to go somewhere new.