A Conversation with Artist Vanessa Hodgkinson

Self Portrait as a Sperm Whale

Saturday, January 4th, 6:00 p.m. 
Wattles Gallery

as part of the Moby-Dick Marathon 2014


This conversation, between Vanessa Hodgkinson–Artist and Christina Connett–Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, coincided with an exhibition of new watercolours on view at Crowell's Fine Art and Framing in New Bedford, Sucker Scar Script, which takes its point of departure from a section of Sperm Whale skin in the Smithsonian collection. Vanessa Hodgkinson talked about her interest in Moby-Dick, Whaling and Whales, and how these subjects produced several bodies of works over the years. Questions of identity and identification, cultural specificity, mapping and materials were all be raised in the talk, highlighting the themes that propel her practice as an artist. The conversation was illustrated with a slide projection.

Vanessa Hodgkinson (b.1982) lives and works in London. She studied History of Art at Cambridge University, recently completed her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London, and will be a Participant at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht in 2014. Her practice is influenced by a long-term interest in Islamic art, which has led to a development of a non-figurative representation through the use of geometry and grids. Painting is an analog mode of image-making that Hodgkinson parallels with a fascination with the digital realm. These two elements fuse in recent works, bringing together that which we can see and that which remains hidden beneath the surface.