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Tuesday 18 May 2021

This Summer In Sussex Glyndebourne Exhibits Major New Work By Noted British Artist Tom Hammick

During his residency at Glyndebourne as Associate Artist, Tom Hammick has created an extensive collection of new work comprising 15 monumental woodcuts, four etchings and three paintings, all drawing on opera narratives from past and present Glyndebourne productions. 
Credit Tom Hammick

The music and mechanisms of opera have always been a central part of Hammick's practice and he has been visiting Glyndebourne for 20 years. 

"What is it that brings this work together, beyond my synesthetic responses to the deep romantic passions of love and loss that repeatedly flow out of operatic librettos and music? 

"I have explored these attempted pictorial equivalents in the conversely static mediums of woodcut, etching and a few paintings, all made in response to a couple of seasons of programming in 2020 and 2021.

"Every image in all you see here is depicted at night or dusk and twilight, at about the time in summer that you come out of the Glyndebourne opera house. 

"The surrounding darkness heightens the iridescence of the internal light sources in each picture in a similar fashion to the way light is emitted from the sets on stage, framed for us by the proscenium arch.

Paul Smith:'Miles To Go Before I Sleep" by Tom Hammick

"The figure and ground relationships are simplified, almost as if they were vast Indian miniatures, with backgrounds flattened acting as hangars, their saturated colours hinting at internal desires and conflicts. 

"I have tried not to steal directly from any designer's schema or costumier's clothing with the exception of Don Pasquale and L'elisir d'amore, both of which, seemed to fix their specificity in my brain like the afterglow on the retina of a phosphorescent flare. 

"It has been the music and the pulling of the heartstrings and the unbearable pain of these stories that have been the driving force here behind my pictures."

Highlights of the exhibition include the woodcuts Káta"s Kiss and Waves of Soul made in response to Janaček's Kát"a Kabanová and Verdi's Luisa Miller, both of which will be staged as part of Glyndebourne Festival 2021. 

Tom Hammick studied Art History at the University of Manchester and later Fine Art Painting at Camberwell College of Art and at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada. 

He has an MA in Printmaking, also from Camberwell, and taught Fine Art Painting and Printmaking at the University of Brighton for many years. 

He now splits his time between his painting studio in East Sussex and his print studio in Bermondsey in south east London.

Hammick was the recipient of the V&A Prize at the International Print Biennale in 2016 and his works are held in many major public and private collections, including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Deutsche Bank, Yale Center for British Art and The Library of Congress, Washington DC. 

Recent projects include a collaboration with the designer Paul Smith to create a series of limited edition prints. 

In 2022, Hammick will travel to the United States as the recipient of the prestigious Josef & Anni Albers Foundation Residency. 

The upcoming exhibition will be installed in Glyndebourne's Gallery 94 and shown online from 20 May until 31 October 2021. 

The works will also be available to view in person by ticket holders to the 2021 Glyndebourne Festival if and when current restrictions are eased later this summer, making it possible to browse the Gallery 94 space.

Curator Nerissa Taysom says: 

"Tom Hammick has a profound understanding of the relationship between opera and art. 

"In his major series of new woodcuts and etchings, made during his residency at Glyndebourne, Hammick distils the essence of each opera narrative into a moment of tension or passion, heightened by his masterful application of colour and technical brilliance in manipulating the printed surface. 

"Hammick's works mark a significant contribution to Glyndebourne's artistic legacy, and we are thrilled to exhibit these beautiful and extraordinary works at this exciting point in Hammick's career." 

The online exhibition will be live from 20th May 2021 and can be discovered at

by: Mike Cobley



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