Procession/30 by Susie Hamilton
ACBF: Would you share a little of your thoughts and inspirations for Oh Ceremony….’ and will the Coronation be inspiring more works?
Susie: Yes, my thoughts, expressed in Shakespeare’s soliloquy in ‘Henry V’, are about the gap between glorious ceremonial and the flawed man who, as king, is honoured by it. I’m thinking of Henry’s sense of the absurdity of setting people up in this way, with sword and mace and crown imperial, and yet the way his shrewd staging of splendour (as Prince Hal and then as King) responds to a popular need for royal magnificence.
I’m also considering the religious implications not just of coronations but of sacred ritual in general. I’m pondering St Augustine’s description of a sacrament as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.’ ‘O ceremony, show me but thy worth’ indeed.
And yes, I’m sure that the coronation will inspire more pictures. Processions have been part of my work since the 90s and will be the basis for future painting.
My recurring friezes of distorted, disfigured figures are inspired by royal ceremonial but also by other kinds of ritual: Bacchanalia or English folk festivals, for example, in which humans morph into animals, hybrids and fantastical creatures. The paintings that are emerging use these elements to make new combinations of abstraction, metamorphoses and monstrosity.
Pink Procession/3 by Susie Hamilton
ACBF: What, if any, are your thoughts on the fact that the image of Charles III on Royal Mail stamps will not be wearing a crown
Susie: I suppose that the lack of crown is an attempt to make Charles seem more ordinary, one of us. But while a king is merely human, it is a little disingenuous to pretend he is like us, set apart as he is by wealth, lands, customs and hierarchy.
ACBF: If you had to have one, would you prefer a Queen or a King to reign over us?
Susie: Maybe a queen to even things up and Princess Anne would have been good. But I don’t have a strong preference.
Procession 17 by Susie Hamilton
ACBF: What are your thoughts on the many representations of Queen Elizabeth II in art over the decades, and do you see her as a modern day icon?
Susie: In a lot of portraits she looks a bit solid and bland. I prefer ones that suggest some kind of inner pressure: Chris Levine’s ‘long-suffering’ portrait with eyes shut, or Mark Stewart’s photo of her shedding a tear at the cenotaph. Then I like Warhol’s emphasis on surface in his portrait, as if a monarch is a constructed image.
I suppose she is an icon, or symbol, of monarchy. For many she was its perfect embodiment because, despite portraits when she shows a sliver of emotion, she was inscrutable, a Sphinx of baffling neutrality.
ACBF: If invited to paint Charles III’s portrait, would you accept and if so how (and where) might you present him?
Susie: I couldn’t easily accept a commission from King Charles, as I’d make him look too pendulous and unattractive. If I had to do it, I’d try to avoid this by painting him from a distance in a landscape of trees, acknowledging his eco interests.
Abbey/2 by Susie Hamilton
ACBF: Would you rather dance the Charleston or an Elizabethan Waltz?
Susie: You mean that Elizabethan serenade? I hate it, slushy and sickly, like waiting-room music. So I’d have to opt for the Charleston though I’d have been no good as a dizzy flapper slopping my cocktails as I waved my arms about.
ACBF: Who, dead or alive, would you like to paint your portrait?
Susie: Having seen her strong show at the Barbican, I’d like to have had Alice Neel do my portrait.
15/09/2023 The Art Car Boot Fair goes POP! is LIVE - The fair is now open at Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross
07/09/2023 'DAVID HOCKNEY: BIGGER & CLOSER (NOT SMALLER & FURTHER AWAY)’ at THE LIGHTROOM - On Lewis Cubitt Square
31/08/2023 13 Questions for Artist Sadie Hennessy - Organ founder and artist Sean Worrall asked Sadie Hennessy his famous 13 Questions
22/08/2023 13 Questions for artist Susie Hamilton - Artist and Organ founder Sean Worrall asked Susie Hamilton 13 Questions
21/08/2023 TOP OF THE POPS! ARTIST LINE-UP THE ART CAR BOOT FAIR GOES POP! - EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW
20/05/2023 Calling out to all art loving Sk8boarders - Skateboards from Rachel Howard, FELIX and Pure Evil!
01/11/2021 A QUEENS RANSOM OF THE NEW AND THE AOAP'S - Sizzling New Talent at the Art Car Boot Fair Queen & Country Edition
01/11/2021 A ROYAL FLUSH OF PHOTOGRAPHY - Photography at the Art Car Boot Fair Queen & Country Edition
22/04/2021 JACKSONS PAINTING PRIZE WINNER JOINS THE ACBF FLORA & FAUNA LINE-UP - Introducing Miranda Boulton.
16/04/2021 HOSPITAL ROOMS - The organisation transforming clinical environments through art is joining the ACBF Flora & Fauna event