Artist

Hester Finch

Hester Finch is a London-based artist who studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University. Hester works in a variety of media, from oil paint to pastel, concentrating primarily on nudes and landscapes. Her work is utterly captivating in its power to lure us in with her technical skill and her use of bright and inviting colours, and then trap us in a claustrophobic, often-nightmarish world. She says: "I paint figures and landscapes which are linked by a common distorted reality." 

Hester is available for portrait commissions. If you're interested in commissioning a portrait by Hester, get in touch.

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Hester's Style

The female nude is a common theme in her work. She constructs angular and awkward bodies which are at once highly representational, and at the same time abstract in their faceted, flat planes of colour. Hester plays on the familiarity and predictability of an age old subject - the nude female model posing for the artist; but in her work, the mundane is juxtaposed with the surreal, and the gaze is subverted (no longer that of a male artist, musing the female body). 

 

It is this surreal quality which makes Hester's work so fascinating - her seated nudes are not seductive, but rather they feel watched to the extent that we, the viewer, become complicit as captors of these women. They are firmly seated in their chairs (by will?) and backed against a wall, often with a looming shadow creeping up behind them, suggesting that they are being surveyed under harsh light. Rooted in feminist theory, her works powerfully represent the female experience.

 

Read Hester's interview with Liberty London where she discusses her influences and her process.

 

To enquire about Hester's available oil paintings or to discuss a private commission please get in touch.

"My work explores the human experience from a personal and female perspective. Using either soft pastel on coloured paper or oil on linen, I utilise the female nude in a simple interior setting, often alongside props such as plants or drapery that symbolise sexuality and fertility, and always set against looming shadows. The whole is rendered in bold, clashing colour, subverting what could be pretty and submissive into something more threatening and unsettling." - Hester Finch

Drop 4 - Autumn 2020

“The intention for my nudes in their domestic interiors has always been that they represent a psychological space and the state of their heads has played a key part in this. At the beginning I simply lopped them off and these were the headless nudes. They then transitioned to faceless abstractions, then to multiple heads and now I have the burning heads. Created in part to reflect the maelstrom that is 2020, they are also intensely personal ruminations on my own life.” - Hester Finch, The Sense of Self and Of Touch

Drop 3 - High Summer 2020

"This latest body of work, made in the latter half of lockdown, is especially concerned with liminality, that is to say existing in a state of limbo, transitioning between two stages in life and shifting identities. The drawings continue my preoccupation with the female experience from an autobiographical perspective, focusing on the schism triggered by the differing demands of the various roles a woman might attempt to fulfil e.g. artist, mother, wife, lover etc.

I have further developed a number of motifs, especially that of the multiple over-layed figures, with an emphasis on the repeating face to reflect this psychology. This sense of crisis is heightened by a colour palette that is occasionally more acidic and trippy." - Hester Finch

Drop 2 - Spring / Summer 2020

"My drawings have always been autobiographical, usually using the life model as a vehicle for the ideas I am trying to express. However, with lockdown I have no longer been able to access my models and so have had to turn my gaze upon myself and my own body, sometimes using truncated limbs, such as my hand, sometimes my face, occasionally my full length figure. With this has come a certain liberation, a release from working with idealised beauty, and a sense of being less precious. And much as it is for everyone, the strangeness of social isolation, the intensity of feelings it brings from love to lust to rage to despair, as well as the pure mundanity of it provide ample fodder for exploration.

Lockdown strips away all the fluff with which we usually obscure our lives and we're left with the bare essentials of who we are for better or worse. To examine myself provides a relief. I was also fortunate enough to work with a good friend and her four month old baby just before lockdown. As a parent myself, motherhood is an idea I can obsess over. Drawing the two of them together was a very intimate and moving experience, especially poignant given current circumstances. And already you can see me playing with the multiple face motif which seems fitting for the ideas of identity that I grapple with as a woman and an artist and as a mother and wife, and also an appropriate evolution from my previous headless nudes." - Hester Finch

Drop 1 - Spring 2020

Prints

Islington Square

Original Pastel Nudes

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