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.
Oil on linen
The subject of the female nude is a common theme in Hester’s 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.
Hester’s 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 and backed against a wall, often with a looming shadow creeping up behind them, suggesting that they are being surveyed under harsh light.
“This painting follows directly on from my previous two series: ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ and ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman’ where the subjects had lost their heads. In this work she has reclaimed hers but it is instead cast in shadow. She is hidden or she hides.
This painting seeks to explore the female experience. Despite the clear erotic symbolism of the purple plant, the overwhelming sensation is one of ennui and detachment - of sitting, of being viewed, of being nude. She submits but without interest or pleasure.
The bruised purple of the shadow cast by the plant threatens to consume her and her shadow looms up behind her pitch black and phallic.”