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Tony Hull

Tony Hull

Tony Hull’s paintings are made slowly over a period of time and in turn relate to the fabric of things through time. Hull is interested in the effects of anachronism and how cropping or changes in paint handling can alter meaning. The most recent series references contemporary iconography and value systems within the context of 16th century Flemish paintings of children.

Tony Hull makes selective quotations from the original paintings, adding contemporary elements later, often in very obvious ways. He enjoys how this invites a sense that the effect of these alterations can be held separate from the original painting’s purpose, but wonders if these deliberately self-conscious changes in fact fuse with the historical image creating a confused melancholy with often a clumsy sense of roleplay. 

Whilst there is an element of stylistic mimicry involved in irreverent additions like aviator shades, binoculars or filter cigarettes, this is tempered by a respect for the medium and technique. There’s a place for all these things in Tony Hull's paintings, but it’s hard to put your finger exactly where that place might be.

Worked up in layers, the paint gathers to create images that are left coming into being, pushing the subjects further into contextual oblivion. Teasing things out of these paintings whilst keeping the referential integrity of the originals, Hull tries not to tip the scales too heavily in the favour of any one time, space or moment.

Tony Hull is based in London with paintings in numerous European and US collections. After graduating with a BA at Chelsea School of Art, he went on to Post Graduate study at the Slade School of Fine Art. He has exhibited in Britain and Europe, taking part in numerous group and solo shows, most recently the Threadneedle Painting Prize.

"London based artist Tony Hull’s latest series of oil on canvas are playful studies on contemporary iconography and value systems within the context of 16th century Flemish masterpieces. Layers upon layers of paint push Hull’s subjects—all children—further into contextual oblivion. We struggle to comprehend the 16th century “originals” from Hull’s contemporary applications. A confused melancholy permeates Hull’s work, and we approach the altered reference of Art History past as one approaches a graffitied street sign. An image that we have collectively grown to equate with a definitive function or meaning has been tampered with.

We are initially only conscious of what has been altered, falsely believing that we have full understanding of the image’s “original” intention. To stop. To yield. Not to loiter. To sit still. Hull’s technique is perfectly suited to the task of stylistic mimicry. His irreverent alteration of centuries old masterpieces is tempered in his reverent, bordering on religious, technique. Centuries collide, and the dust clouds of school room stuffiness that has come to surround the old masters dissipates. They no longer seem so distant. Colors that imply brevity streak across the traditionally somber colors of our fondly remembered Flemish fathers; oil drips sloppily down the canvas and a staccato of brush strokes and scratches almost etch each child into their traditional pose and starched, dated clothing. A bright streak of blue. Of red. A familiar wallpaper print. A dangling filtered cigarette and thick framed glasses (quintessential hipster gear). Batman’s mask. There is a place for all, but it’s hard to put your finger exactly where that place might be or in what alternate universe it may reside.

Hull must have spent a lot of time literally watching the paint dry, waiting with bated breath for the next application. And the next. All while keeping the referential integrity of the “originals” and without tipping the scales too heavily in the favor of one time, space or moment".

Natalie Fasano, Going Dutch, PhotoSynth Project, New York

Buy original artwork by Tony Hull at Opus Fine Art; the home of Contemporary art.

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Tony Hull

1988 MA Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art, London 
1986 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Chelsea School of Art, London

2012 Take, Darbyshire Projects Space, London
2012 Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London
2011 Going Dutch, Simons, Muirhead and Burton, London
2011 Friend of a Friend, Park Studios, London
2011 Answers on a Postcard, Opus Fine Art, Newcastle upon Tyne
2011 Fresh Cream, Opus Fine Art, Newcastle upon Tyne
2011 Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London
2011 2 to the Power of 10, Orange Dot Gallery, London
2010 Promise, Darbyshire Project Space, London
2009 Between everything and else, Park Studios, London
2009 Floating, Wall Contemporary, London
2007 Traces of the Past, Jagged Art, London
2006 Having and Holding, Art at LCP, London
2006 Schtick, Hope Gallery, London
2004 Line and Form, Stephen Lacey Gallery, London
2003 Let’s be Millionaires, ICH Gallery, London
2002 Open Studios, Park Studios, London
2002 Stalker, Emma Hill Fine Art, London
1999 Inhale, Royal College of Pathologists, London
1998 Stalker, ICH Gallery, London
1997 Coalition, Northbank Gallery, London
1995 Virus, Northbank Gallery, London
1995/97 Dinny Hall, London
1993 Andrew Lesley Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
1993 East End Open, London
1989/91/92 Whitechapel Open, London
1988 British Council Print Exhibition, Pakistan
1988 Art House, Wyndham Place, London
1987 National Print Exhibition, Royal Festival Hall, London
1986 Class of ‘86, Royal Festival Hall, London
1986 Chelsea Print Show, Angela Flowers Gallery, London

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Young Marble
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