This month marks the second instalment of Contemporary Collective and Bankside Hotel’s unique Maker in Residency programme. Following Luke M Walkers’ inaugural residency the studio, widely considered as London’s most centrally located artist studio, is now passed over to Contemporary British painter Victoria Heald.
Continuing the legacy established by Luke, Victoria will be working with Bankside Hotel to achieve the now well established goal of engaging guests, local residents and transient communities in one-of-a-kind artistic experiences. Alongside providing unique, daily access to an Artist in Residence, the partnership between Contemporary Collective and the hotel ensures guests and visitors can participate in a programme of events through exhibitions, talks, workshops, and events.
On her ambitions and plans for the residency Victoria writes:
During the Bankside Hotel residency, I will be continuing a recent series of work exploring pose, gesture and expression through contemporary figurative painting. The ideas behind the pieces are especially relevant to London-based viewers as all of the figures in my paintings are entrepreneurial friends of mine living and working in London.
I have been developing this series for the past year, using a number of different compositions and poses to try to capture the qualities I find so interesting and admirable in each person. Many of the figures are women, who I have met through working in the London art world or as a practicing artist.
The paintings try to reflect the sitters’ creative intelligence, contemplative characters and entrepreneurial spirit as they balance their creative work, jobs and all the normal stresses of everyday life with tireless resourcefulness and positive attitudes.
The plain gold backgrounds highlight the figurative pose and removes any distraction from the figure. In this way, the paintings hold the figure up in a moment of calm or thoughtfulness.
This residency is the perfect opportunity for me to consolidate this body of work and to create new paintings in the series, while also sharing my technical knowledge and ideas with local residents and visitors.
As part of this, I will be holding a workshop to teach people how gold leaf can be incorporated into artwork, as well as a meet-the-maker event in the Bankside Hotel studio and a round table discussion on International Women’s Day with other artists and art professionals.
About the Artist:
Victoria Heald studied at Camberwell College of Art and Chelsea College of Art, graduating with a BA in Fine Art, First Class Honours. She is based in her London studio, painting figurative and animal works on gold, drawing London landmarks and undertaking commissions of a variety of subjects. Victoria has exhibited widely in the UK and overseas.
On her creative works and process, she writes:
“My work aims to communicate the intensity of the painted figure through pose, gesture and expression. I often paint women, asking friends and people I admire to pose for me to try to capture the quality I find so interesting in them. I create contemporary figurative paintings by mixing traditional oil techniques with modern mediums, working on canvas, board or metal. The juxtaposition of changing surfaces, materials and compositions act to heighten the figurative image in each piece.”
The figures in Victoria Heald’s work are painted thinly in oils, while the backgrounds use modern light-reflective pigments, taking the subject out of their original context and placing them into a realm without circumstances or conditions. Her new gold works reference the importance gold has played as a medium within the history of painting and creates a contemplative space for the figure in each piece. The grandeur of the gold creates a contrast with the figures' contemporary look, everyday clothes and gestures.
Painting animals gives Victoria Heald a way to experiment further with textures, patterns and the tactile quality paint, which can lend to rendering the different animal's body, fur and skin. Each animal has a varied set of material qualities to communicate to the viewer through different oil paint markings and techniques.
As well as painting, she also create pen and ink drawings of famous architectural buildings in London. Having lived in London for nearly 10 years, she is inspired by the beautiful variety of architecture in the city. Victoria Heald regularly undertakes commissions of people, animals, buildings and pets. It is her aim to not only capture the physical likeness of the beings in these commissions, but their unique character and personality as well.
For further details, images or interviews with the artists, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Gallery:
Contemporary Collective, based in Somerset House off the Strand London, was founded in 2006 to champion and further the careers of promising artists, many of whom the gallery has managed since graduation. The core mission of the Gallery Directors is to support talented artists and empower them to continue making and developing through the critical early years of their careers taking them from emerging to established.
Originally based on Vyner Street, in East London for over 10 years, in 2018 the gallery re-located to Somerset House on the Strand enabling a new chapter of international collaborations, exhibitions, art fairs & residency programmes for their represented artists.
The gallery has an innovative annual exhibition and residency programme that seeks to provide a legacy for the future careers of their represented artists and offer engaging opportunities to new and emerging talent.
There is a real need in the art world to support young artists in the emerging stages of their careers to provide them with meaningful exposure and access to the market place and collectors.
Contemporary Collective have a proven track record of supporting artists at this formative time as they embark on their professional careers.