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Tom Hammick: Lunar Voyage at Flowers Gallery

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British painter and printmaker Tom Hammick has described landscape in his work as a metaphor to explore an "imaginary and mythological dreamscape." Drawing from a wide range of sources, from Japanese woodblock prints to Northern European Romantic painting, utopian Modernism and contemporary cinema, Hammick's depictions of isolated human dwellings grounded in uncanny dreamlike settings summon the uneasy atmosphere of a psychologically-charged thriller, or a dystopian suburban nightmare. In the present exhibition of woodcuts, shown in its entirety for the first time in the UK, Hammick conjures a metaphorical journey to outer space, weaving interstellar dreams and earthly relationships. A suite of seventeen images traces the cyclical path of his protagonist, an archetypal artist or poet, who leaves life on earth in pursuit of freedom and isolation on the moon - only to be haunted by memories of those he has left behind. The narrative cycle begins with Cloud Island, featuring a solitary family home surrounded by a lush garden under a canopy of ornamental trees. The scene, symbolising a prelapsarian Eden, is watched by the voyager from his boat as he prepares to leave. This initial tranquility is ruptured in Journey to the Moon, when his ship is fired out of the Earth's atmosphere, with a voluptuous riot of curling forms in golds, reds, pinks and turquoise evoking the sonic roar of rocket engines. In subsequent images, such as Lunography and Star Path, where the capsule is seen to embark on its weightless journey towards a solitary camp on the moon, the infinite midnight blue of outer space suggests complete silence and a new-found alienation and abandonment of the past. As the journey continues, Hammick's explorer is plagued by dreamlike visions of events on Earth, prompting questions within the narrative about whether he ever really left home at all. The space station, seen in images such as Chamber, Pitch and Sleeper, appears to be occupied by the mysterious, spectral presence of a female figure and recurring images from both past and future. Woven within this latter sequence of images are references to the feature films of Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky, bringing to mind the striking sets of Kubrick's The Shining and the romantic resurrection of psychologist Kris Kelvin's wife Hari in Tarkovsky's Solaris.

Venue Details & Map

Flowers Gallery

Kingsland Road
E2 8DP
0207920 7777

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