Edward Hopley’s photographs play upon your imagination like suspended dreams, images that suddenly become vivid, resonant. Played out against cloud-filled skies and the atmospheric weather associated with low-pressure systems, the artist turns the half-light of dusk and dawn or moody, inclement conditions into scenes of bittersweet yet outstanding beauty. Throughout Hopley’s body of work, we see the artist return to themes of absence and presence, the shadows of people who were there but now are long-gone, man’s negotiated relationship with his environment, the drama of nature played out along the coast, across the water, across mountain peaks, underneath a theatrical sky. In one image, we see a blind man stand before Porto’s exquisite cerulean blue azulejos drenched in light, yet his sight is impeded. It is the perfect counterpoint to Hopley's oeuvre. For it is in the rain-filled, overcast sky, scenes we might have overlooked, that the artist opens our eyes to an unexpected beauty. It is this fine emotional timbre that distinguishes his work. Contrasting an oneiric tranquility against the uneasy, incongruous elements within a landscape, it is his remarkable ability to distill a memory, real or imagined in every shot, which lends them such power.
Katharine Arnold, 2014
Associate Director, Specialist & Head of Evening Auction
Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art
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