Artist Spotlight…Pip Hoy’s Resilience

“For me, painting is a vehicle to communicate with color, while collage is a vehicle to communicate ideas.”
-Pip Hoy

  Into the Light Pip Hoy Resilience is Australian born-Doha based artist Pip Hoy’s own personal pilgrimage along an artistic path that started four years ago, culminating in this, her first solo show. Opening night is this Wednesday, October 15 from 6-8pm at the Grand Hyatt Doha, by invitation only, but her work will be on display until January 2015.

Encompassing her earlier painting work with dots, dashes and grids, such as the spectacular Into the Light above, Resilience also introduces new work that meditates on the overlapping of circles. Pieces such as Corrugated II  demonstrate her masterly layering of texture and pattern.

Corrugated II Pip Hoy Inspired by the nazar, the eye shaped amulet which protects against the evil eye, these works had been percolating for some time, but it took her intuitive eye for color and her hand mixed palettes to get them right.

Nazar evil eye Working with acrylics on canvas, Pip meticulously plans her colors before starting each painting as the relationship between the pigments is so much of the storyline. I can’t resist showing you a sneak peek of one the newest nazar pieces in the exhibit, Paint a Rumour.

Paint a Rumour palette Pip Hoy

Pip’s crescent moon collages are a play on the nature of communication through abstract observation of daily life in the Middle East. Using pages in Arabic from regional publications, Pip creates collages around a theme, even though she is actually unable to read the words and stories she is working from. The irony of context is such that words themselves can be beautiful and painless when not understood, just as they also have the power to wound when they are.

Arabian Beauty Pip Hoy Many of her paintings are extremely large scale, making for powerful decorative statements. Readers may have already seen glimpses of her 2012 work Sway which holds sway over our dining and living room here in Doha.

friday flowers pip hoy sway Pip’s use of recognizable Islamic motifs, in this case the crescent moon and the nazar, mixed with modern color palettes and mixed media materials lends a contemporary twist on ancient symbols as seen through western eyes. Resilience is a celebration of achievement and renewal with powerful emblems of physical and spiritual healing.

All artwork images copyrighted by Pip Hoy. Please do not re-post without writing to me for permission. Thank you. Pile of nazars photo via Kay McGowan here. All other photos my own.

Artist Spotlight…Dancers, Degas and the Demi-Monde in Yokohama

Ballet: The Star 1878

So I’ll start with the eye candy – this Edgar Degas masterpiece from the Musee D’Orsay is the headliner of his exhibition at the Yokohama Museum of Art along with 50 or so other loaned works from that extraordinary French museum. It is the first major retrospective of Degas’ work to be shown in Japan in 21 years, totalling about 120 pieces. The exhibition has a large smattering of everything – the ballet, the horse races, the cafe singers, the nudes, portraits, sketches and some bronze sculptures. It is well worth seeing.

One of the more recent ideas about Degas’ nudes is that his painting style was highly influenced by early Japanese prints (ukiyo-e). Unpopular with the Academy when originally shown because they were so matter-of-fact and almost voyeuristic – in contrast to the idealized nudes in more traditional painting – Degas’ realism was quite shocking at the time.  But depicting women going about their bath is a common theme in 18th century ukiyo-e, particularly in prints by Hokusai and Kiyonaga. Care is not taken to make women look beautiful in these prints – they are shown naturalistically, as if through a peep-hole, washing themselves. The same can be said of Degas’ nudes, of which there are many in this show.

The Tub 1886

It is believed that Degas had a copy of Torii Kiyonaga’s Women at Bath, shown below. Degas uses these poses in many of his paintings of nudes, for instance, compare the crouching woman in the blue and white yukata (cotton kimono) in the forefront of the print to the woman in The Tub above.

Women at Bath, late 18th century

While there tends to be a lot of analysis of the stylistic influence of ukiyo-e on Degas, I actually think the subject matter of ukiyo-e is the more influential as it freed him from the typical subjects of late 19th century paintings. Degas painted the demi-monde – ballet dancers, jockeys, cafe singers – people who existed outside the realm of class structure but were patronized by the rich. Ukiyo-e depicts “the floating world” of much the same people – kabuki actors, geisha, courtesans, and sumo wrestlers. I am sure this is not a particularly new insight, but one that really stood out to me as I toured the exhibition.

  • Edgar Degas at Yokohama Museum of Art, until December 31, 2010. (03) 5777-8600, 3-4-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama; 3-min. walk from Exit 3, Minamomirai Station, Minatomirai Line. 10:00 a.m.-6 p.m. (till 8 p.m. on Fri.) ¥1,500. Closed Thursday.
  • Interested in knowing more about ukiyo-e? Check out Hanga 101.

Image credits: 1. ibiblio, 2. Wikimedia, 3. Jim Breen’s Ukiyo-e Gallery

Tokyo Jinja

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