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BATH ARTISTS 2019

YOU MUST CREATE HATTY BUTLER In Hatty’s vivid, energetic portraits you can see the influence of artists like Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach – “Freud’s mark-making and Auerbach’s tactile layers of paint are truly inspiring,” she says – and her pieces tend to combine both very precise areas with others that are more loose and free. She works in thick, malleable oils, sometimes incorporating spray paint and pastels to give things even more of a tactile, three-dimensional feel. From her quiet, rural studio – “I often get lost for hours, painting in my own little bubble” – she’s developed a style that’s become increasingly daring and contemporary, pushing herself to discover new techniques and subject matter. “My portraits are not about the face alone,” she says, “but question the emotions and experiences behind it. I’m passionate about celebrating unique and interesting people, embracing those who may normally be criticised or overlooked for being ‘different’. We live in a society where the abnormal is laughed at, and my aim is to alter these views.” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “I spotted Hatty’s work at her Bath Spa Uni Degree Show, and instantly knew I wanted to work with her. Though she’s a fairly recent graduate, she has a mature approach, trying new methods and searching for inspiration all the time. I took her energetic portraits to a big London art fair last autumn and she proved an instant hit.” For more, www.hattybutler.com

PAUL MINOTT

Paul started out as a graphic designer, but, he says, “As graphics became increasingly detached from print itself, I wanted to go in the opposite direction. Putting real ink on real paper, and engaging with the materiality of print, became important to me.” This said, the Modernist feel of his work definitely came from the clarity, precision and playfulness of graphic design. “There are so many influences, of course: Ben Nicholson, Sonia Delaunay, Ellsworth Kelly, Max Bill. It’s a mix of austere abstract painters and quite decorative designers; work which projects positivism. Those that know me would say I’m quite sardonic, cynical even, so I guess I make work which surprises even myself, in that it’s quite light and decorative. In these troubled times I think this might be necessary. I try to avoid the temptation to make ‘pictures’ of any kind; the pieces are more

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Four more of our favourite Bath-based artists, all very different, all with very different stories to tell, and all worth checking out

like instrumental music. Even the titles, which always come later, are chosen for their sound rather than their sense.” Paul works on a studio a farm near Trowbridge, in an old industrial kitchen, using vector software and digital lasercutting to prepare thin plastic elements, which are then individually glued, inked up as flat as possible, then positioned on an etching press. “It’s only really possible to make one print of each,” he says, “so it’s rather like cooking – hours of prep, five minutes of pleasure, then another hour of cleaning up!” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “Paul’s passion for balance, colour and an element of wit are very infectious. Having watched him working, I have grown to love the simple pleasure of flat ink perfectly placed on paper as much as he does!” For more, www.modernartbuyer.com

“My portraits are not about the face alone, but question the emotions and experiences behind it” IONE PARKIN

Ione Parkin RWA is an abstract painter who exhibits nationally and internationally; for the past 30 years she’s been based in Bath, her studio a former upholstery workshop to the rear of Bath Artist Printmakers in Larkhall. “I’ve always been inspired by the interconnectedness and diversity of the natural world,” she says, “and this theme can be traced from my early landscaperelated work through to my current interests in astronomy and art-science dialogue.” She creates large-scale images in oils and synthetic resin on canvas, expressing her fascination with cosmic phenomena, from massive clouds of cosmic dust and gas to the creation of the universe. Then there are her textured, mixed-media works on paper, inspired by planetary surfaces, “like geological samples of distant worlds.” Since 2016, she’s been co-lead of an art/science project which has seen her engage with astrophysicists, cosmologists and

planetary geologists from assorted institutions; the art that’s come from this has been exhibited everywhere from the Zeiss-Grossplanetarium in Berlin to Leicester’s National Space Centre. On 5 September she’ll be talking about her art at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “The simple fact that Ione Parkin has been elected as a member of the RWA speaks for itself. She fully understands the story she wants to tell with her work, as well as the media through which she is communicating; her paintings are mesmerising.” For more, www.ioneparkin.co.uk

KELLY O’BRIEN

Though she’s always loved working with her hands, it wasn’t until Kelly and her husband moved from the United States to Germany in 2011 that she was able to focus on her art. “I’m a big believer in the power of learning to help achieve a dream,” she says, “so through two international moves I’ve pursued an art education, and am now completing an MA in Fine Art at Bath Spa University.” Her work explores themes like vulnerability and resilience through materials that, she says, she’s chosen specifically for their fragility and propensity to fail. “Paper has long attracted me to its paradoxical qualities of ephemeral strength,” she says. “When manipulated in seemingly destructive ways – scoring, burning, stitching, tearing, repairing – what emerges is more interesting than the original form. I am interested in how materials can transform and reinvent themselves into something new.” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “Kelly is a delight to work with. She is very driven, constantly working on new ideas. On top of that, she’s a sensitive and compassionate thinker who communicates her personal experiences through her work. These elements – her drive and her experience – make for imaginative, thoughtprovoking mixed media pieces that incorporate paper, fire, gold leaf and hand-stitching.” For more, www.kellyobrien.co.uk

OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ‘I Believe in Me’ by Hatty Butler, ‘Up’ by Paul Minott, ‘Playing With Fire No.47’ by Kelly O’Brien, ‘Aeons of Unrecorded Time’ by Ione Parkin RWA

Profile for MediaClash

Bath Life – issue 399  

Bath Life – issue 399  

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