Key facts about the artist

Untitled (169)
Untitled (169), 2006

Fabrics, maps, song sheets, comics and pages of magazines
Materials
Teaches
Glasgow School of Art
Born
Hertfordshire
Venice Biennale 2007
Studied
Northumbria and Glasgow

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About Louise's work

Since the early 1990s, Louise Hopkins has used furnishing fabrics, maps, song sheets, comics and pages of magazines to create works that address the process and problems of representation. Her project is to transform existing surfaces into paintings or drawings, taking them from the everyday world and giving them a new status. With an experimental approach, she starts with her own physical gesture to explore colour, form and mark-making, using pencil, ink or paint, and often produces several versions before fixing on the final composition. The relationship between the original and new surface is ambiguous. The printed materials she chooses often have social or political associations. The certainty that maps, shopping magazines or manufactured textiles might offer seems to be questioned when they are transformed into a painting or drawing.

Among Hopkins’s earliest works are those produced on furnishing fabrics, such as Aurora 13 (1996). Although prepared in the same way a canvas would be made ready for a traditional painting stretched over a wooden frame and painted with layers of translucent gum the found fabric is reversed to present a shadow of the ‘real’ print. Hopkins has meticulously painted over this ghostly image, leaving a section exposed. On first glance it is not clear what has been painted, and what existed before. 

Untitled (169) (2006) is one of many map pieces Hopkins has made. She has applied ink over a world map, developing strokes in different directions and leaving the names of oceans and countries intact. With these names transformed into islands in a sea of ink, our understanding of geography is upended as new relationships are revealed. Hopkins’s works suggest a chain of contrasts - between mass-produced and handcrafted, reality and artifice, positive and negative, surface and depth, hidden and exposed. In an increasingly fast-paced, image-led world, Hopkins’s interventions are labour-intensive and time-consuming. She slows down time, inviting us to absorb the information she eradicates or exposes through the physical act of painting. In this way, she makes us question the things we see – not only in her work, but in the world around us.

Biography

Louise Hopkins (born 1965 in Hertfordshire) studied at the University of Northumbria before completing an MFA at The Glasgow School of Art in 1994. Solo exhibitions include: Mummery + Schnelle, London (2008 and 2014); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2005); Andrew Mummery Gallery, London (1999 and 2003); and Tramway, Glasgow (1996). Group exhibitions include: A Picture Show, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2013) and Here and Now: Scottish Art 1990–2001, Dundee Contemporary Arts (2001). Hopkins was among six artists chosen to represent Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Her work is held in collections internationally including the Jumex Collection, Mexico and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Hopkins teaches at The Glasgow School of Art. She lives and works in Glasgow.

More information

Louise Hopkins, Tramway, Glasgow and Andrew Mummery, London, 1996

Louise Hopkins: Freedom of Information: Paintings Drawings 1996–2005, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2005

Kate Macfarlane and Katharine Stout, ‘Louise Hopkins’, in Tania Kovats (ed.), The Drawing Book, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2007

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