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GEORGIE HOPTON


GEORGIE HOPTON Within a Budding Grove 27th February – 5th April 2019

Lyndsey Ingram 20 Bourdon Street London W1K 3PL T. +44 (0)20 7629 8849 E . info@lyndseyingram.com W. lyndseyingram.com


FOREWORD Lyndsey Ingram

In life and in art, everything comes in its own time. When I first saw Georgie’s work many years ago, I was immediately impressed. The tension between refined and raw was so compelling, I found myself deeply curious to know more. However, it was not until nearly ten years later that we eventually met and decided to embark on this exhibition. Having imagined her work in my mind for so long, I am delighted to now have the opportunity to present it in my gallery. Georgie’s work spans several mediums and we believe it is essential to include her textiles, wallpapers and rugs alongside the works on paper. To understand Georgie’s work is to experience it beyond the confines of the picture frame. It is holistic and all-encompassing, immersing viewers in the elegant and often playful parallel universe that she creates. Materials like flowers, fabric, and food, often relegated to the purely decorative or domestic, are elevated here to fine art. Her singular working practice includes several different approaches. The vegetable prints are the culmination of a year’s worth of cultivation that begins in her garden months before she sets foot in the studio. Using only vegetables from her harvest, she approaches a pea pod or a sliced squash like most artists would an etching plate - creating monoprints with these unlikely implements. Other works on paper, including the monumental collages, epitomise her magpie instinct. She carefully collects papers and yarns and keeps them in her studio until they eventually find new life in her

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collages. Consistent throughout is Georgie’s relentless and creative repurposing of unlikely everyday objects in original and surprising ways. Beyond the elegant presentation, this work also possesses a deep tension, which sits at the core of everything she does. The artist has described her fascination with desire and disgust, and her work lays bare this interest in the duality between vulgar and beautiful, natural and man-made, large and small, always treading a fine line between the two. As she has commented, Georgie is always ‘searching for the grandiose in the small’. I continue to be impressed by Georgie’s ability to create an entire world, cloaked in her own, very particular, aesthetic and this exhibition extends far beyond the works on paper. Every surface of the gallery will be covered with the rich patterns and surprising textures of her organic, earthy sensibility. The show is, as the title suggests - ‘Within a Budding Grove’. I am delighted and honoured that Georgie is transforming our space with her creative vision. To know her work, is to become a part of it.

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INTRODUCTION Louisa Buck

Like many artists before her - Cedric

she then returns for a longer summer

Morris, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe

spell for harvesting, reaping and a period

and Edward Steichen, to name but a few

of replenishment, both physically and

– Georgie Hopton is a keen cultivator of

creatively. However, while her movements

plants, as well as using them as subject

are dictated by the growing seasons of her

matter. She has painted, sculpted and

American garden – Hopton admits that

photographed flowers and made pho-

‘nature is incredibly important to me,’ her

tographic works using her own body in

concerns remain predominantly artistic,

conjunction with vegetables grown in her

rather than horticultural. Her primary

garden. These images – and those she has

creative domain remains the studio.

borrowed from the horticultural pursuits of others – continue to form the composi-

The evocative title of this exhibition,

tional core of her most recent collages of

‘Within a Budding Grove,’ comes from

flowers. They also underpin her ongoing

Marcel Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things

‘seasonal’ works, which incorporate

Past’ (‘A Recherche du Temps Perdu’) and

flower stems and leaves from the garden

this fecund grove of potentiality resides

and vegetable prints made with her

in each of the richly stimulating worlds

homegrown produce.

that she has forged for herself, both inside and out.

Hopton describes her year as a ‘vegetable migration’ which sends her across

The 2006-9 ‘Harvest’ photographs, in

the Atlantic from her house in central

which Hopton fused her bodily presence

London to her farm in Upstate New York

with fruits of her ‘vegetable migration’

for two weeks in mid-May to plant seeds;

was a consequence of an acknowledged

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need ‘that all that cultivation outdoors

plants hold an enormous variety of

had to cultivate creativity indoors – there

forms and colours in their gene pool and

had to be payback in the studio.’ In a

because of this rare characteristic they

conversation with her former St Martin’s

have been able to be heavily cultivated.

tutor, John Stezaker, she discussed this

‘Sculptural and other-worldly, with an

revelatory fusion of art and life, com-

exquisite symmetry and alien colour-

menting, ‘It has become clear to me that

ways, these specialised cultivars have a

the God Game – ie: Creation – happens

theatrical and intense presence that I find

in the studio in almost the same way

endlessly beguiling,’ she says. Because

as it does in the garden.’ Conversely,

of the shape of their leaves, the popular

when she makes her collages back in the

name for auricula is ‘bear’s ears’ and this,

urban setting of her London studio, she

combined with the flower’s distinctively

nonetheless feels like ‘a combination

defined eye-like centres, gives the species

of plant breeder and butterfly catcher

an added appeal to Hopton as ‘all-seeing,

because skill, experience, experimenta-

all-hearing creatures.’

tion, patience and chance come into every aspect of their making.’

Despite her devotion to auriculas, the artist uses them as a compositional springboard

The starting point for almost all Hopton’s

in her collages and never a subject per se.

collages – her most recent works included

She emphasises that these are not merely

- is the auricula, a flower developed over

pictures of flowers: ‘The images act as a

many years from a wild species of Alpine

beginning and my imagination, the mate-

primula. Auriculas were first brought

rials I collect and their coming together

to Britain in the 16th century. These tiny

create the results,’ she says. ‘I’m not just

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making a picture of a flower: and it’s

autumn leaves and photographic images

important to me that this is apparent.’

of fried breakfasts are just some of the components that make up the collage

The combinations of precious, hand-

‘Witches’ Butter’ (2016), meanwhile the

made and commercially mass-produced

tartan paper used in ‘The Bonnie Lasses’

materials, which she has amassed over

(2015) is one amongst jostling clusters

decades and continents, are the essential

of segments adorned with marbling,

ingredients for each collage. She comments

repetitive sampler-like patterning and

that ‘I’m as drawn to the ugly as I am to the

rows of kitten heads framed by Christmas

beautiful, in fact, probably more so to the

wreaths, to name but a few of the designs

first, but I think they work to best effect in

Hopton wrangles into an uneasy com-

unison.’ She actively embraces the decora-

positional harmony. ‘I’ve been attracted

tive, declaring, ‘I really dislike white paper

for years to simulated surfaces, loving

– I find it objectionable!’ Her earlier works

the psychological sensation you get when

often incorporated found materials – pom-

faced with faux or hyper-real versions of

poms, sequins, beads and shiny metallic

reality,’ she says. ‘Often the fake creates

stars – that many would dismiss as tawdry

a sort of extra-sensory, uncomfortable

or kitsch and this long-term love of richly

experience within us. I am interested in

detailed surfaces is given full throttle in

the push and pull between the fascination

the exuberant and surprising encounters

and disgust it promotes. At the same time,

within her collages.

I admire and appreciate many crafts, so naturally my collection of papers includes

Papers printed with wood grain, leopard

handmade and marbled sheets.’ Under

print, polka dots, sparkling dew-dropped

Hopton’s eye these disparate and poten-

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tially unruly elements are held in tense

given rise to her own horror vacui. This

equilibrium, reclaimed and redeemed

results in the migration and proliferation

into the realm of art with an elegance that

of the unique vegetable prints into repeat

is nonetheless tinged with discomfort.

patterns on both wallpaper and fabric, which here provide both a backdrop and

Hopton attributes her very particular

a sensation of complete immersion in the

aesthetic and ‘penchant for ugly colours’,

artist’s world.

as well as her fondness for collecting and recycling materials in unorthodox

Hopton’s decision to layer her works

combinations, to her early childhood

within the exhibition reflects both a com-

experience of being surrounded by the

pulsion to collage in three-dimensional

patchwork quilts and knitwear made by

space, as well as a desire to keep the con-

her mother from offcuts of fabric and

versation between her work and the world

repurposed wool. ‘Generally she only

active. Fellow artist and collagist John

had access to fabric she was given, and

Stezaker points out that ‘Collage allows

the wool mainly came from unraveled

the opening up of the unconscious which

knitwear she bought from jumble sales

is very direct. It’s also a way of looking at

because she didn't have the money to buy

what you are consuming all the time. It

it new. This made for a combination of

enables unexpected juxtapositions and

colours and patterns that I knew, even

different ways of perceiving what is there

at a young age couldn’t be described

in front of you.’ For Hopton the collage

as beautiful or pleasing.’ Perhaps it is

carries a similar aesthetic and psycho-

Hopton’s early enveloping within her

logical charge, functioning as an agent

mother’s multicoloured Merzbau that has

to trigger memory, ideas, sensations and

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free association. ‘The process of collage

to outline the sections of her collages may

and the bringing together of disparate

have its origins in her childhood memory

elements accurately reflects how we

of being surrounded by her mother’s balls

remember things and for the most part

of wool and ‘knitted things being undone

I believe, how we experience the world,’

and redone,’ but it is also an artistic device,

she says. ‘Memories are isolated, experi-

a means to make lines with a drawing tool

ence is very often compartmentalised and

that is at the same time a three dimensional

the end result, the final outcome of the

material in its own right. Concurrent with

collision of past and present, is that we

this is the idea too that these lines, lines

perceive so much of it as though it were a

she has referred to as lines of communica-

dream. Concrete reality doesn’t exist – at

tion between her and her deceased mother,

least not as soon as it is overlaid by the

chords reaching back into the past are

next thought, situation or reaction. The

‘almost like words flattened out.’ A silent

act of collage parallels our experience of

dialogue is encrypted in each work.

being alive.’ In her most recent large-scale collages, the Yet, at the same time, the collages are

wool has made a dramatic new departure.

highly formal and reflect the same desire

As well as describing the edges of shapes,

to oscillate between two and three

multiple strands of yarn have now broken

dimensions that in the past found Hopton

free from the picture plane to pour down

painting stylized shadows on or around

the surface of the work and sometimes to

the surfaces of her sculpture and ‘form-

stream all the way down to the ground. It

ing’ paintings in dense metallic paint of

is as if the wool has broken free from its

bronze still-lifes. The wool that she uses

graphic boundaries to assume an addi-

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tional expressive role that asserts both its

ture for her latest works on paper, leaving

material and its metaphorical, as well as

only a trace of the auricula drawings they

its formal qualities. In both the collages

are born from. These works, which carry

‘The Lion At The Gate’ (2018) and ‘Fragile

the collective title ‘Verse’ (2018) and were

Amanita’ (2018) the spaces between the

made during her last summer sojourn

strands allow them to be read as a series of

in upstate New York deceptively appear

vertical lines as well as an emotive cascade.

abstract. Hopton erases choice lines from

Another work, ‘Vesuvius’, (2016-17) lives

her drawings, leaving a combination of

up to its name with three dense eruptions

marks that she believes will give her a

flowing – almost vomiting – from the

new and interesting starting point. ‘As

centre of the flower forms. For Hopton it is

soon as you remove parts of the recognis-

important that these vertical outpourings

able image, you’re left with these curves

also deflect from the work’s floral origins.

and angles, and they have their own

‘You become less aware that you are look-

energy and movement – there is some-

ing at a flower, and that's important to me,’

thing choreographic and orchestral about

she says.

making them and in what remains visually – which is really enjoyable,’ she says.

Painterly, liquid, hairy and rich in colour

‘When I walk across our land, which con-

and texture, these wooly outpourings

tains much rampant growth, wildflower

further complicate the collages and charge

meadows, a wood and a bog, I am often

them with myriad new readings.

struck by the sight of “natural drawings”. Nature shows us drawings in space all the

Similarly, Hopton has obscured the role

time – with the branches of shrubs and

of the flowers that form the initial depar-

trees and the stems of flowers and crops –

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and these pieces came from the memory

and is equally haunted by Rimbaud’s line

of these walks.’

‘it is she, the little girl, dead behind the rose bushes.’ She acknowledges that, like

Hopton originally incorporated flowers

her many artistic predecessors, much

into her art because she thought that,

of her obsession with the floral lies in ‘a

given their genteel, passive and gen-

perverse desire to make the ephemeral

der-based connotations, they would be

permanent.’ For just as the flower exists

a perfect subject to subvert. As all these

in order to perpetuate itself, so, within

new works continue to confirm, things

her various budding groves, Hopton

have turned out rather differently. Both

makes work in order to celebrate the

formally and conceptually flowers and

miracle of life, to live on and extend into

plants continue to be a crucial source of

another realm.

inspiration and her relationship to the world of horticulture is a rich, evolving and constant one.

Louisa Buck is a London-based writer and broadcaster on contemporary art.

In two of her favourite quotes from Emily Dickinson, ‘my hope put out a petal’ and ‘the shouting flower’, Hopton cites the power of a flower to embody the force of life, in all its beauty and tenacity. At the same time she is also drawn to the darkness and intimation of mortality that comes with the flower’s blooming,

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'While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote with all our might. We were seeking an art based on fundamentals, to cure the madness of the age and find a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell.' - Hans Arp

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The Lion At The Gate Wool on painted paper, 2019 Signed in pencil verso 136 × 129.6 cm £10,000 + VAT

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Another Difficult Season's Vegetable Print (xi) Acrylic with leaf, sticks and collage on paper, 2015 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 × 55.9 cm £3,500 + VAT

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A Season of Space (vii) Acrylic, leaf, sticks and collage on paper, 2017 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 × 55.9 cm £3,500 + VAT

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Witches' Butter Collage, wool and string on painted paper, 2016 Signed in pencil verso 176.5 Ă— 160.3 cm ÂŁ14,500 + VAT

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Shining Hour Collage and wool on paper, 2015 Signed in pencil verso 152.5 Ă— 123.8 cm ÂŁ14,500 + VAT

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‘When I walk across our land, which contains much rampant growth, wildflower meadows, a wood and a bog, I am often struck by the sight of “natural drawings”. Nature shows us drawings in space all the time – with the branches of shrubs and trees and the stems of flowers and crops – and these pieces came from the memory of these walks.’ – Georgie Hopton

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Clouds In My Coffee Wool and collage on paper, 2015 With artist's handmade frame Signed in pencil verso 56 Ă— 45.5 cm ÂŁ5,500 + VAT

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The Bell Ringers Collage and wool on paper, 2017 Signed in pencil verso 68 Ă— 56.3 cm ÂŁ3,500 + VAT

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Verse (vi) Wool, stick and beans on paper, 2018 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 Ă— 55.9 cm ÂŁ3,500 + VAT

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Verse (ix) Wool, stick and beans on paper, 2018 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 × 55.9 cm £3,500 + VAT

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The Bonnie Lasses Collage and wool on paper, 2015 Signed in pencil verso 161.2 Ă— 120 cm ÂŁ14,500 + VAT

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As well as describing the edges of shapes, multiple strands of yarn have now broken free from the picture plane to pour down the surface of the work and sometimes to stream all the way down to the ground. It is as if the wool has broken free from its graphic boundaries to assume an additional expressive role that asserts both its material and its metaphorical, as well as its formal qualities. – Louisa Buck

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Clutch Collage and wool on paper, 2017 Signed in pencil verso 45 Ă— 38 cm ÂŁ2,800 + VAT

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Little Brother Collage and wool on paper, 2017 Signed in pencil verso 45.5 Ă— 37.5 cm ÂŁ2,800 + VAT

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Vesuvius Collage and wool on painted paper, 2016-19 Signed in pencil verso 183 Ă— 144.2 cm ÂŁ14,500 + VAT

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Yellow Edges Wool and collage on paper, 2009 Signed in pencil verso 43.1 Ă— 35.2 cm ÂŁ2,800 + VAT

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The Next Fancy Collage and wool on paper, 2009 Signed in pencil verso 43.1 Ă— 35.2 cm ****

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Pamino With Windmills Wool and collage on paper, 2012 Signed in pencil verso 64.5 Ă— 52.5 cm ÂŁ3,500 + VAT

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... (in the world of flowers) ‘This stands for that. Flowers by their very nature, traffic in a kind of metaphor, so that even a meadow of wild flower brims with meanings, not of our making. Move into the garden however and the meanings only multiply as the flowers take aim, not only at the bees or the bats or the butterfly’s obscure notions of the good or the beautiful, but at ours as well. Sometime long ago, the flowers’ gift for metaphor, crossed with our own and the offspring of that match, that magical symbiosis of desire, are the flowers of the garden.’ - Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire

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Fragile Amanita Wool on painted paper, 2018 Signed in pencil verso 141 Ă— 137 cm ÂŁ10,000 + VAT

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Temple (i) Acrylic, stick and wool on painted paper, 2013 Signed in pencil verso 70 Ă— 49.7 cm ÂŁ3,100 + VAT

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Little Beasts Collage and wool on paper, 2012 Signed in pencil verso 68 Ă— 56 cm ÂŁ3,500 + VAT

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The Shouting Flower Wool and cellophane on paper, 2012 Signed in pencil verso 52.7 Ă— 42 cm ÂŁ2,800 + VAT

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Cloe (i) Wool and collage on paper, 2010 Signed in pencil verso 43.1 Ă— 35.2 cm ÂŁ2,800 + VAT

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‘I’ve been attracted for years to simulated surfaces, loving the psychological sensation you get when faced with faux or hyper-real versions of reality,’ she says. ‘Often the fake creates a sort of extra-sensory, uncomfortable experience within us. I am interested in the push and pull between the fascination and disgust it promotes.’ – Georgie Hopton

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The Cotton-Handled Echo (after Arp) Collage and wool on paper, 2015 Signed in pencil verso 68.8 × 49 cm £3,500 + VAT

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A Season of Hope (i) Acrylic, leaves, sticks and bean on paper, 2018 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 × 55.9 cm £3,500 + VAT

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A Season of Hope (iv) Acrylic, leaves and sticks on paper, 2018 Signed in pencil verso 76.2 × 55.9 cm £3,500 + VAT

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Stromboli Hand-knotted handspun wool rug, 2017 Unlimited edition Courtesy Christopher Farr Rugs 172 Ă— 240 cm ****

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BIOGRAPHY

Georgie Hopton (born 1967, North Yorkshire) lives between London and Upstate New York. Since graduating from St. Martins in 1989, she has continued to expand her use of varied media, all of which are underpinned by her affinity for the natural world. Hopton works across photography, collage, printmaking, sculpture and textile, often combining these within one work. Most recently, she has applied her unique aesthetic to wallpaper, fabric and rugs. Classical themes of still life, self-portraits and studies of flowers are consistent threads, woven through explorations into abstraction and pattern. Like her heroes of the Wiener Werkstaette and the Arts and Crafts movement, Hopton's heart lies in creativity with no boundaries; the melding of art and life. Hopton's work is housed in several permanent collections including the Arts Council collection. Public commissions can be seen at the Home Office and Royal London Hospital. Hopton was nominated for the Max Mara prize in 2007. That same year the Guardian named her as one of 'the next generation of cutting-edge artists.’

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SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

Solo Exhibitions 2019

Within a Budding Grove, Lyndsey

Group Exhibitions 2016 Five Years at Heddon Street, Pippy

Ingram, London

Houldsworth Gallery, London

2018

Local Colour, Filet, London

Found, curated by Cornelia Parker,

2012

The Wounded Tulip, Poppy Sebire

Foundling Museum, London Gallery, London

2014

Colour As Form, curated by David Bachelor, Galeria Leme, Sao Paolo

2010 The Naked Gardener, Brancolini Grimaldi, Rome

2013

Something About A Tree, curated by Linda Yablonsky, Flag Art Found-

2008 The Three Cornered Hat, The New Art

ation, New York

Centre, Wiltshire In Cloud Country, curated by Iwona Blaswick, Harewood House, Yorkshire 2008 Prophet, Spike Island, Bristol

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Published by Lyndsey Ingram Designed by Lucy Harbut Printed by Dayfold Cover image Endless Column, 2012 Endpapers Dropped Cherries, 2012 p.8 Yellow Edges, 2009 (detail) p.16 The Bonnie Lasses, 2015 (detail) p.26 Little Brother, 2017 (detail) p.36 Fragile Amanita, 2018 (detail) p.46 Shining Hour, 2015 (detail) p.56 Witches' Butter, 2016 (detail) p.64 Artist in her studio, 2019 Photograph by Stephanie Wolff p.67 The Bell Ringers, 2017 (detail) Artwork photography by Jamie George Images Š 2019 Georgie Hopton


Profile for Lyndsey Ingram

Georgie Hopton – Within a Budding Grove 2019  

In life and in art, everything comes in its own time. When I first saw Georgie’s work many years ago, I was immediately impressed. The tens...

Georgie Hopton – Within a Budding Grove 2019  

In life and in art, everything comes in its own time. When I first saw Georgie’s work many years ago, I was immediately impressed. The tens...