Chris Hagan

Chris Hagan (b.1974) is a contemporary visual artist based in Hove, Sussex. Chris began his
contemporary fine art practice in 2017, producing figurative and landscape-based works on canvas,
paper and mixed media. His works are held in private collections in the United Kingdom, Germany,
France, Spain the United States, Canada and Asia.
"I have always been interested in some kind of sensory journey when I look at art, that feeling of being
engulfed in a massive expanse of rich colour, the sensitivity or contrived violence of brushstrokes and
being up close to the tactile almost living nature of paint is still an overwhelming experience to me. When
I am in the midst of making a painting, I experience these same feelings in a physical as well as sensory
way - the slow evolution, the making and gathering of textured elements over time, the layering and
excavation of colour, the search for the accidental.
The words of Marlene Dumas often linger when I’m starting a new piece of work: ‘You have to keep
some kind of distance’, in the case of Dumas it is the portrait or the figurative motif, the antithesis of
capturing the essence or any kind of visual likeness. It is this detachment that interests me: a negative
photographic image, the chance translation of a figurative image from life into some kind of effigy; the
distortion, abstraction and transference of these motifs away from their natural form and colour into
something artificial, disparate. Found imagery of the people, places and historical events of the North of
England, Wales and in particular Ireland from the 1900’s onwards informs elements of my work,
connecting the links of my own Irish heritage. It is a heritage I feel completely attached to and
disconnected from at the same time, by its proximity to the not so distant past or by geography. My own
interpretation of popular culture sees the past constantly uprooted, reinterpreted, and distorted by each
new generation of creatives. In some ways the romanticism for rural life, a safe haven of rejuvenation,
hope and enlightenment has become a popular modern aesthetic; but scratch beneath the surface and those
bygone and modern realities still expose the brutality of poverty and isolation alongside historical
violence, traditions and folklore; all of which still linger on in the landscape. Like apparitions.
This new body of work has as much to do with subject as the exploration of art as creator and viewer.
Visual memory and the referencing of artists and creatives alongside the events of preceding generations
absorb into thought processes and methods of making, often in subtle and incongruent ways. A blurred
visual memory of an actor from a forgotten theatre production becomes a constantly evolving motif, an
effigy to a moment that has passed and the subtle changes in visual memory over the passage of time (The
Ever Changing Memory of an Alan Bennet play). A dialogue on the centuries old exile of young artists
and creatives from the provinces to the capital in the quest for enlightenment and success (Ptarmigan).
The question of colour and the great colourists (The Golden Age, And Those Who Came After)
Alongside these works are new interpretations of paintings from the past that have spoken to me in their
themes. The harrowing potency of a religious ceremony: Ingres (The Duke of Alba). And in contrast, a
work from the previous century echoing the quietness and solitude of a moment lost in peace and
reflection, by the greatly underrepresented artist Gwen John (A Precious Book)."


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