Maggi Hambling CBE is a visual artist largely known for her intimate portraits, sea paintings and public sculptures including A Conversation with Oscar Wilde (1998), Scallop (2003) celebrating the composer Benjamin Britten, and most recently A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft (2020).
This month’s Artist Profile focuses on Hambling’s prolific career and her work Drawing from life: back view (1965), which is currently on view in Seen, a National Partners Programme Exhibition at The Exchange in Penzance.
Hambling made this early work during a life drawing class at the Camberwell School of Art in the mid-1960’s. Hambling has continued to explore the human form in some of her work and she is celebrated for her portraits of friends, family and famous figures, some of which are held in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
In the Bloomberg film Brilliant Ideas: Maggi Hambling featuring the artist and her exhibition Touch: Works on Paper at the British Museum in 2016, Hambling talks about how drawing is at the centre of her practice. Art critic Louisa Buck explains that drawing is the absolute starting point of Hambling’s work and that she makes a drawing every morning. As the title of the British Museum exhibition references, touch is important to Hambling’s work. It is through touch and the physical making of the work that Hambling understands her subject. Her intense eye translates her subject in utmost detail, capturing all emotion and liveliness on paper.