'State of Mind' is a small, but perfectly curated exhibition at the Hatton gallery, exploring notions of self-reflection, introspection and well-being. I felt within all nine pieces there was a sense unity in human suffering, which each work explored through a different medium. The exhibition outlines that these works “visualise thoughts that are otherwise not easily communicated” and this claim held true for me.
I was particularly absorbed by Laura Knight’s The Dark Pool. I found the paint strokes a striking aspect, alongside the meeting of rock and water. This seemingly peaceful painting appeared to conceal something more turbulent and uncomfortable. The placement of the works in this exhibition demonstrated how understanding of a piece changes and alters depending on what it is presented alongside. Harold Knight’s The Bathing Pool is hung directly opposite his wife’s work, and similarly places tranquillity alongside sadness. While both pieces convey the allure of water and its association with the self-reflective, The Dark Pool evoked a greater tone of anger and pride than The Bathing Pool’s sense of hopelessness. The Knight’s work felt more self-introspective than Dumas, Manet and Mola’s pieces, which I understood to explore their subject’s contemplation over their own. Dumas’s casual and fluid style of portraiture reflected Amy Winehouse’s internal struggle, placing exhaustion alongside youth and Mola’s A Blind Beggar portrayed a struggle to understand suffering.
Despite the artwork in the exhibition coming from a broad range of movements and different Hatton and Laing collections, the design by MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies students conveyed a unity within fragmentation. While all the works explored their subject matter in a variety of ways, there was a collective sense of reflection intertwined with distress.
State of Mind is open until 1st May and I suggest you visit, absorb and give yourself a little time for self-reflection.