Morag Keil, 'Charlie Hammond' (The Skinny, 18, 03/2007)

Charlie Hammond’s solo show at Sorcha Dallas plays with the aesthetics of high art, mocking it with a childlike playfulness and knowing morbidity. Hammond is a Glasgow School of Art graduate, who is exhibiting at The Armory Show, New York this year. His work shows a diversity of interests and influences as well as a talent in manipulating his materials, sometimes referring to and using techniques taught to children. This can be seen in Filmmaker (macaroni style) – which is oil on canvas but painted in a curly free-hand style, mimicking the shapes of pasta – and Sculpture with their Head Kick In (blue) – a ceramic head sculpted using children’s footprints. The end result, whilst harking back to the familiarity of childhood experiences, has a harshness that comes only with the knowledge of age. The references run thick through the work, and the blending of childlike innocence and the corruption of knowledge adds a biblical edge to the work, in addition to discussing the acceptance of responsibility for actions: ‘When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.’ (Paul, Corinthians 13, 11). Hammond’s work is aesthetically intriguing – there is a great deal of sinister humour here, creating a paradox of sophistication and naivety. Both these elements are strengthened by his knowledge of the tools he uses.

Morag Keil