On view at the Draw Art Fair, von Goetz will exhibit a solo presentation by Bristol-based artist Hannah Murgatroyd. Showcasing Murgatroyd’s exceptional draughtsmanship in a range of framed drawings of various sizes, the display focuses on how drawing is essential to the artist’s practice, working across sketches, studies, wall drawings and being characteristic of her dexterous and energetic style. The stand will also include a small selection of paintings for which the drawings often serve as preparatory pieces. The artist has often employed large-scale wall drawings in exhibitions and in her studio to serve as framing devices and as works in their own right. For Murgatroyd, the wall drawings unify the works and create a narrative setting for a curated hang. Drawings that are sketchbook tear-offs of character studies or larger A3-size studies sit within the context of the wall piece, their order and composition chosen in collaboration with the artist. The von Goetz display will bring a comprehensive presentation of the practice of this underappreciated artist.
Working across an open narrative of painting and drawing, Hannah Murgatroyd’s practice has emerged as a timely, virtuosic expression of social community, femininity and desire, bound in a voluptuous filigree of line and colour, and executed in varying tempos. Her idiosyncratic cast of characters and fantastical landscapes synthesise art historical tropes with depictions of the male and female body into a dramaturgy of enigmatic spectacles, evoking the capricci of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and the genre paintings of Pieter Bruegel, conversing with the moral challenge of the provocative pleasures of John Currin and the multi-layered mises en scène of Lisa Yuskavage. What reveals itself through Murgatroyd’s exceptional adroitness and imagination is a window onto a version of the world; eroticised, ambiguous and engaged deeply with surface.
In such paintings as Daughters, Come Aboard (2017), Emotional Meaning (2017) and Curiosity (2018), Murgatroyd empowers her subjects with an animated emotion, their unselfconscious glances and gestures evincing a tender vulnerability that binds the characters to one another, placing them beyond any external, moralising gaze. As contemporary as they feel in their sanguine celebration of the human body – and foregrounded as they are in primordial landscapes and pastoral settings – her paintings eschew chronology; removing themselves from kronos (historical time) and eluding conventional narrative. Murgatroyd’s investment in the sincerity of her absurdist’s world is its piquant, inimitable charm, a world whose portals are opened in the artist’s sweeping wall-drawings, finessed paintings, and impeccable draughtsmanship.