Hayley Tompkins

No Title


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Not on display

Hayley Tompkins born 1971
Watercolour on paper
Support: 292 × 208 mm
Purchased 2011


No Title is a small, non-figurative watercolour painting on paper. It is densely painted, having been reworked by Tompkins over time. It initially had photographs attached to it, which Tompkins subsequently removed, but it retains within its surface the impressions of their stencil-like shapes in the top and bottom left-hand corners. These are both painted in shades of grey and the remaining glue dots are just visible. This painting was produced for the cover of the monograph devoted to Tompkins’s work published in 2011. For this purpose she intended the painting to be full of colour and exuberant: ‘I wanted the colours to butt up next to each other and reverberate due to this closeness … I intended to make the paintings in the show feel unruly, formless, without particular focus or centre. I saw it very much as a surface, a thing in itself.’ (Email correspondence with Tate curator Katharine Stout, 2 May 2011.) No Title was exhibited in Tompkins’s solo exhibition, A Piece of Eight, at the Modern Institute in Glasgow between April and May 2011, featuring a new body of work that included photography and assemblages of found and painted objects, as well as paintings. Tompkins deliberately named this painting No Title as opposed to the generic Untitled often used by artists.

Tompkins makes paintings in watercolour and gouache on small fragments of board, sheets of paper and at times directly onto the wall, and also applies paint to found and constructed objects. Other examples which demonstrate the range of her practice are Architecture 2004 (Tate T13539), Day Series 2007 (Tate T13535), Proto portrait 2008 (Tate T13536), Metabuilt II 2008 (Tate T13538) and Metabuilt XXIV 2009 (Tate T13537).

Further reading
Daniel Baumann, Pati Hertling and Karla Black, Hayley Tompkins, Edinburgh 2011.
Nicola Moorby and Katharine Stout, ‘Abstraction and Improvisation’, in Alison Smith (ed.), Watercolour, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2011, pp.184–5, 195.

Katharine Stout
May 2011

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