Ephemeral Blues

5th – 10th December, open daily 11am – 6pm
Drink reception Friday 6 – 8pm

Fitzrovia Gallery is pleased to host Ephemeral Blues, an exhibition of paintings and etchings by Antonia Hockings. Themes explored in the mainly figurative works on show relate to the transient nature of our minds and the world at large. ‘Ephemera’ originates in Greek and means ‘lasting one day’.

As a figurative artist, Antonia renders the body using line. Through this line, she creates shapes and forms which in their turn evoke states of mind. With a particular interest in the face, and seeing in the face expressions of both deep-seated personality traits and short-lived emotions, Antonia favours facial portraiture over full-figure although in this exhibition a wide selection of nudes, initiated in life-drawing classes or based on photographs of the artist’s own body. There, the fixed pose becomes an expression of the moving body.

Ephemeral Blues is a show about impermanence, short lived experiences transported with us as memories, and the nostalgia these may give rise to. Drawing on the sensation of loss, Antonia connects impermanence, or ‘ephemera’, with melancholy, so to say ‘the blues’. Her practice is, in broad terms, an exhaustive investigation of the ephemeral, not entirely unlike Roland Barthes’ recording and observation of sensations of loss in his Mourning Diary, compiled over two years following the death of his Mother in October 1977. In her images, she captures different states of ephemerality, defining that which we know by experience but lack vocabulary for. She observes the positioning of a body in a certain situation, in front of an audience or beneath the sun on a beach in Greece, and reserves her lines for those forms that speak of an internal response to external conditions.

That which has a limited lifespan is both precious and vulnerable. Whether it is a long-awaited day in the sun or unexpected joy. For some, the looming death robs the experience of potential thrill, giving rise to trepidation and angst in its place. Sigmund Freud, on the other hand, argued in his essay The Transient that a limited lifespan heightens the thrill.
Printmaking – etching in particular – has taken an increasingly important role in Antonia’s practice the past years. Mechanical reproduction, invented in the 16th century, has allowed us to store impressions in printed format. With access to printing techniques, artists took the liberty to depict a wider range of reactions, spontaneous and even whimsical, and our relationship as viewers to ephemerality changed (a change accelerated with the invention of photography!). It goes without doubt that these records, starting potentially with Rembrandt’s etched self-portraits, have given us insight into mankind. As mortals, we are driven to define ourselves and our position within the universe; the volume of our physical being and our consciousness, both restricted in time. We are ephemeral.

Ephemeral Blues runs 5th to 10th December and is open daily 11am – 6pm (drink reception Friday 6 – 8pm).
RSVP antoniahockings@yahoo.com