Harry Hugo Little: don’t leave Curated by Brooke Wilson 23rd – 30th March 2023 Bomb Factory Foundation 9-15 Elthorne Rd Archway London N19 4AJ
A sentence; a set of words; a one-liner; a source of exploration for London-based artist Harry Hugo Little. Contemplating loss, grief and the fraught feelings that accompany such intense emotions, Little pulls apart language as a means of processing and asks the viewer to do the same.
For everyman is lonesome here As trees give way to blue’
Harry Hugo Little
In his debut solo show don’t leave, individual words trace the circumference of the gallery space, spanning great widths and heights. When close the words are illegible and abstract, they offer recognisable hints whilst remaining concealed within the artists’ unique font.
Making distinct alterations to a traditional gothic script, Little stretches, elongates and softens the old English style to give a personalised meaning to the singular words he depicts. When standing back, at an angle or beneath the works, words appear clearer and a sentence begins to form. Leaving fragments of words for the viewer to piece together, language is relocated from the page and lives on via the surface of wooden boards. By pairing the classical nature of oil paint with awkward fragments of wood, Little juxtaposes his technical understanding of the medium and in turn, emphasises the discomfort in discussing the complexities of losing a loved one.
Working with linguistics via poetry and painting, Little’s practice is in a constant state of flux; where both mediums inform one another. Written whilst walking the woods nearby his childhood home, this exhibition, not only uses a direct sentence from his poem A Lonesome Walk, but also looks at nature to provide the framework for Little’s earthly colour palette: brown, for the earth’s soil, red, for the body’s flesh, green, for the cultivation of growth, and blue, for the unknown afterlife.
Loaded with meaning and unavoidably powerful, words can hurt, heal and simultaneously carry complex emotions. Echoing the blurred lines of grief and the individual’s search for explanation, Little uses words as a tender expression, flattening, wiping and smudging them, in an ongoing desire for clarity.
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