Natural Constructs

Brixton Housing Co-Op. resident artist Lesley Hilling will be showcasing a series of new floor standing and wall sculptures made from salvaged wood and found objects at Knight Webb Gallery from 30 June. The exhibition provides city-audiences with a momentary pause to consider the potential of materials that are usually discarded. A 2017 Aesthetica Art Prize finalist, Hilling’s challenging and innovative work is currently on view at York Art Gallery until 10 September.

Mimicking the role of a painter and working with the hues of found wood, Hilling produces geometric, near-architectural constructions that invite the viewer to dive into visually intricate details. Her background as a graphic designer is visible in the carefully layered compositions that feature parts of old pianos, watches and family heirlooms. Here, formal frameworks made from salvaged wood are placed in dialogue with poetic items from her lifelong collections: cigarette cards, shells, coins, dolls and even old photographs.

As its title suggests, On Longing is founded on a sense of both nostalgia and curiosity. Many of her sculptures are fragile yet playful, and encourage the opening of doors and the pulling out of drawers. Taking up to a year to assemble and complete, Hilling consciously promotes a counter-culture: one that slows down society’s fast-pace and looks to re-purposing lost or bereft objects. On Longing also hints at the desire for another mode of living. Her ideologies are shared with fellow artists in the Human Nature collective – a group of 30 artists promoting environmental awareness through their work.

Lesley Hilling, On Longing, 30 June – 30 July, Knight Webb Gallery, 54 Atlantic Road, Brixton, SW9 8PZ.


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1. Lesley Hilling, El Barrio. Courtesy of Jim Poyner.