Bethany Hadfield:It’s Always Freezing In Here
Signed on reverse
Acrylic on canvas
55 x 67inches
Bethany Hadfield’s work focuses on the fundamental nature of materiality, taking the primacy of matter as the pivotal assumption. She engages with the dynamics of materialisation and questions the ideological conceptions of matter as a uniform, discrete substance. Hadfield is conscious of utopian political-social programmes that push a rejection of the individual body in favour of understandings of interconnected networks. She sees this impulse as necessitating inquiries into the relation between the cognitive and the material, specifically the ways in which minute animals and plants communicate through symbiotic processes, establishing networks of communication that operate through the material and transcend conventional understandings of conscious thought.
In exploring the possibility of rendering these ideas through the visual economy, Hadfield uses digital open-source 3D software to sketch out her compositions, thereby disrupting the received conventional understanding of painting as originating from a private individual unconscious. She denies the existence of an independent, contained self as the point of origination for her works by relying instead on an online network of digital programming. Artistic creation becomes a reflection of one’s role in collaborative and social interaction.
It’s Always Freezing In Here uses a distinctive play of colour, form and line to show a complex and chaotic pattern of fractal-like formations. The forms appear as having their own discrete borders and texture while each attaining its shape exactly from the borders of its neighbours. Each element of the work takes value and significance from its place within the broader pattern and are, in some sense, in communication. This reflects Hadfield’s preoccupation with material manifestations of communication that override or bypass conscious thought. It’s Always Freezing In Here displays the tension between the fracturalism of cohesive, self-sustaining individuals and the homogenous flow of quantities through an extended field. This is the tension Hadfield recognises in the utopian strains of political thought that anticipate the eradication of individual corporeal forms in favour of technological singularity.
B. United Kingdom1994
Bethany Hadfield’s large-scale works on canvas explore multiplicities; undulating, self-replicating forms cover the surface of the paintings taking on their own agency. Using an open-source digital software, Hadfield translates these forms to her canvas in an attempt to manifest the immaterial, and to examine infinite possibilities of form. The artist’s work sits at the border between the digital and the real, highlighting the glitches and ruptures that predominate these networks and realms.
Hadfield received a BA in painting from Wimbledon College of Art in 2016 before graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in 2022. Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions in the United Kingdom. Hadfield lives and works in London.