Georgie Hill: Beijing Contemporary

29 - 31 Aug 2019
Overview

The works in this exhibition are a survey of Georgie Hill’s practice since 2012, showing the development of her practice and the way the themes and ideas she explores have evolved in tandem with her practical methodology. Cutting, scraping and otherwise manipulating the paper’s surface, Hill deploys her chosen medium of watercolour so that its ability to flow and respond to the support is fully realised. Her works concern the idea of the diagram, plan or document, using their materiality to draw attention to their self-reflexive nature. Hill’s practice has focused exclusively on watercolour for over a decade, a decision that intrinsically contests the medium’s historical status as preparatory to other forms of artmaking.

 

Watercolour on paper is also, by its nature, a medium that encourages certainty and discourages mistakes, since marks are usually indelible. This property creates in Hill’s work a balance between spontaneity and planning, which reflects her work’s concern with the development of systems and strategies for dealing with chaos and uncertainty. Hill connects her work to a lineage of modernist abstract painters, particularly Hilma af Klint and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, both of whom produced substantial bodies of work in watercolour. Hill’s works reference a catalogue of female artists, architects and designers, including Eileen Gray, Frances Hodgkins, Charlotte Perriand and Lilly Reich. She frames her historical interaction with these figures in terms of their visibility, or lack thereof, constructing an alternative view of the history of modernity.

 

Hill’s work utilises paper’s paradoxical property of being both precise and vague, spreading and dispersing pigment but also locking it into an immovable matrix. Her works engage with the idea of the paper support as a vulnerable membrane, susceptible to cutting and puncturing, but also flexible and adaptable. In these works, Hill deploys an array of interlocking concepts: camouflage and adaption, prophecy and prediction, interiority and exteriority. Here, figure and ground are constantly trading places, creating a shifting tissue of pattern and form. Hill uses this play with formal elements as a jumping-off point for an exploration of the systems we use to rationalize the complexity and chaos of the world.

Works