VICTORIA HORKAN

“Thickly painted canvasses are not a new phenomenon, think of Frank  Auerbach, Anselm Keifer,

Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Laden with paint and metal and sand and bright specks of diamond, works like

Keifer’s Starfall from 1995 carry the weight of impressions and gestures that seek meaning free from representational convention. Impasto seems too timid an adjective to describe the layers of paint and debris these artists heap onto their canvasses. Victoria Horkan’s works are also heavy with scoops of paint, but the kind of dark, violent imagery that occupied Keifer

or Auerbach is a far cry from the joyful, vibrant scenes that animate Horkan’s painting. As a young artist she trained as a textile designer at the University of Huddersfield in the UK and it was here that her tutors identified and encouraged an affinity with the “looseness” of paint that seemed at odds with the confines of more heavily mediated work with fabric.

She now draws her subjects from the natural world, depicting butterflies or schools of fish on overwhelmingly large canvasses, preferring to work on areas that measure at least 1m x 1m. The same wide flecks of paint that describe the rounded wings of a butterfly go on to become an aquatic environment populated by sifting branches of seaweed or darting fish. Where her butterfly works often depict a  single insect, comprising collage elements as well as paint, her sea paintings are contextual, with a wide field of vision and multiple instances of movement. 

Clear representation is neglected in favor of pattern and color and where the hand might have moved over cloth, the eye has to shift constantly to apprehend these marine scenes”.