Degree: Fine Art
University: Newcastle University
Graduation Year: 2019
The North East of England is a region steeped in folklore, romance, and mystery - teaming with magic. Abigail Hampsey, a recent graduate from Newcastle University’s Fine Art programme, has become bewitched by the region’s whimsical history.
Hampsey’s work is a profound and compelling journey. She uses icons from North Eastern folklore to portray the archaic patterns and images prevalent in Carl Jung’s individuation theory, also known as, The Jungian Archetypes. For example, qualities of Jung’s ‘Wounded Child,’ archetype are mirrored in Hampsey’s oil on canvas: ‘Lamb Dinner.’ In this piece, we see as innocence endures trauma in the form of a pure white lamb about to be eaten by a pair of faceless, blue humans. Hampsey’s focus is on painting the lamb with a sensitive and loving hand, while the humans depicted have been captured with harsh and blunt lines - depersonalised.
Her use of colour is also an exploration of the psyche and folklore; Hampsey describes her palette as ‘favouring colours that denote liminal states…’ Liminality is a term that was first coined by folklorist Arnold van Gennep and denoted a temporary dissolve of tradition. This can be seen in almost all of Hampsey’s pieces which boast layers of bright, unexpected, and eye-catching colours.
Originally from Lancaster I am interested in the materiality of oil paint, the variety of textures it can create and how it can be manipulated. I use saturated colour and extensive layering to create bright, familiar, yet often unsettling images. Favouring colours that denote liminal states, I aim to position the viewer as a spectator, making them question what is invented, remembered or imagined. My fascination with the space between the factual and mythical, and more specifically, folkloric tales from the north of England inform my practice. In witch I aim to explore the relationship between my own experiences, other people’s tales and archetypal stories.