Hayley Tompkins ‘Electric Magnetic Installation’

Installation view ‘Electric Magnetic Installation’, The Modern Institute, Aird’s Lane, Glasgow, 2015
The Modern Institute, 3 Aird's Lane, Glasgow

Hayley Tompkins’ practice encompasses the production of works and installations in which ordinary objects and familiar materials are treated with an intense chromatic and pictorial research. Her work is intimate, diaristic and at the same time an exuberant form of investigation into the language of colour and the tradition of the ready-made. Tompkins approaches painted colour as an intrinsic component of object-making. She establishes a relationship between the complexity and sensitivity of a painted surface and a physical, sculptural identity.

For her exhibition at Aird’s Lane, Electric Magnetic Installation, Tompkins has produced several new works which address her interest in natural phenomena and colour saturated technology explored through ideas of magnetism and electricity, desire and resistance, inside and outside space and the body. Dividing the gallery into two separate spaces Tompkins creates multiple layers of mood, meaning and material, small events of colour in space and time. Upon entering the first space, three vitrines serve as display case for a desktop of painted objects, works on paper and stock photographs depicting close up views of industrial, mass produced objects, such as, shiny metal tubes, curved circular saws and coloured plastic pipes.

In the central gallery space an installation of wall based works opens up: painted sleeves, sticks, and pieces from Tompkins’ series of Digital Light Pools coexist alongside a new series of works titled Lookalikes. This installation allows for a much bigger use of scale – the walls becoming critical to the placement of the individual parts. Positioned through a measured experience of physical and chromatic magnetism, Tompkins installs these works through an intuitive relationship with the body, as if these objects serve as extensions of herself. Interconnected through fluidity of material and appearance as Tompkins interacts with her immediate environment, her assemblages open up a series of resisting forces moving transiently through various thoughts, actions and desires.
Within the installation Tompkins has incorporated painted sticks affixed with fragments of photographs. These particular pieces recall an earlier series of works titled Metabuilts where Tompkins first worked with found objects by altering them with paint as well as assembling or connecting them with other objects and images – marking as the beginning of a process of painting objects; moving from two-dimensionality into three-dimensionality. Tompkins’ more recent works and increased use of photographic imagery and allusions to photography show a radically evolved re-engagement with her starting point – fragments of photographs, correlating to the action of transforming existing material.

Hayley Tompkins (b. 1971 Leighton Buzzard; Lives and works in Glasgow) studied BA Painting and MFA at The Glasgow School of Art. She represented Scotland at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and is featured in the British Art Show 8, which opens at Leeds Art Gallery in October 2015, touring to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton over 2016-2017.
Selected solo presentations include: The Common Guild, Glasgow (2014); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2013); Currents, Studio Voltaire, London (2011); A Piece of Eight, The Modern Institute, Osborne Street, Glasgow (2011); Autobuilding, Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2009); and Re, The Drawing Room, London (2008). Selected group presentations include: The Persistence of Objects, Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, curated by the Common Guild (2015); The Grass is Singing, Mendes Wood DM, São Paolo, curated by The Modern Institute (2015); I Cheer a Dead Man’s Sweetheart, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2014); The Imminence of Poetics, São Paolo Biennale, Sao Paolo (2012); and Watercolour, Tate Britain, London (2011).

To coincide with the exhibition Electric Magnetic Installation, a small publication will be produced featuring Tompkins’ new works on paper, which will be available at the end of September 2015.