Childhood friends react to each other’s work on canvas for new show

Hugo's Reaction to the Night

Hugo's Reaction to the Night - Credit: Archant

Two couples, one from Hampstead, the other from West Hampstead, have formed an arts collective which stages its first exhibition at the Cob Gallery this month.

Jack's Raction to the Sitter

Jack's Raction to the Sitter - Credit: Archant

Featuring work by painters Hugo Hamper-Potts and Jack Penny, Reaction to…. is curated by their partners Leonora Chance and Martha Mosse under the banner of Hexen Studio.

The series began with a painting by Hampter-Potts who used the artistic process to exorcise his frustration after an argument with Penny. From then on both artists began to paint reactions to everyday events and emotional responses to the world – informed by their close working relationship.

The childhood friends began sharing a studio in South London in 2014, explains Mosse, who lives with Penny in Hampstead: “They had different painting styles, Hugo was figurative, took a long time over a painting and knew what he was going to do before putting brush to canvas, while Jack painted fluidly, energetically, spontaneously and from the imagination.

“Working in an emotionally and physically close relationship their opposing styles began to conflict with one another and out of an uncomfortable but fruitful period of experimentation, they created this new way of working and a hybrid of their different styles.

“Hugo often reacts to moments of everyday life, going to sleep or riding the tube, while Jack reacts more to sculpture from antiquity or other artists like Bacon and Auerbach.”

It’s this intriguing dynamic that’s become the studio’s driving force with Chance and Mosse supporting the artists through events, an online prescence and exhibitions.

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“As creatives and entrepreneurs in the arts we support them with knowledge about how to market yourself and be a business which is a completely different skill that artists often don’t have,” says Mosse.

For financial reasons both artists currently paint in their respective kitchens. “It’s hard to find a space to cook sometimes! But we are hoping to find a physical studio space where other emerging artists, writers, creatives and entrepreneurs can work together to build a new arts model; using their different skillsets to help one another and put artists in touch with curators, collectors and art lovers.”

COB studios in Royal College Street: March 9 until March 12. Click here for more information.