If anyone can transport us to idyllic surroundings for sheer pleasure it is surely John Hammond.
In this new collection of works John has revisited locations that have most inspired him. Venice, Beer and the South of France. In mood, light, colour and expectation they are quite different. Venice exerts that frisson of ‘La Dolce Vita’ in its unique urban setting and the silver glitter on the water. In contrast John is captivated by the Belle Epoque architecture and relaxing café culture of the French Mediterranean. And then to a total change of mood to the simple boating, fishing and beach pleasures of Beer, a jewel on the Jurassic Coast.
With opportunities for travel restricted in 2021, John has visited locations where possible, but through his extensive library of sketch books and travel journals he has called on his memories to reawaken his love for these subjects which are shared by so many of us. Thus, in these constrained times these paintings take on a heightened significance. Indeed, they are a celebration of comradeship and shared human experience.
We at Marine House, in a relationship lasting over twenty years, have seen John’s style constantly evolve. We see passages of abstraction where freedom of brush work and colour are given greater rein. This freer style allows us to interpret the bustle of a café, the movement of people, bobbing of boats and swaying palms. Is it a trick of light or has the artist’s hand prompted our mind to conjure them from the surface as he evokes the feel of the unseen alongside the depiction of the seen?
We’re not just looking at these paintings, we are participating in them.
Mike Lambert February 2022