On Longing

From June, 29 to July, 29 2017


Lesley Hilling has been represented by Knight Webb Gallery since January 2013. She has a passion for broken furniture and other distinctive objects, which she ingeniously weaves and formalises into her own style of antiquated wooden constructions. The antiquity and archeology present in her work creates a bridge over the Modern and Contemporary Art divide. Hilling’s recent projects include VOLTA show in Basel and the Aesthetica Art Prize touring exhibition.

Both challenging and innovative, Lesley’s work is instantly recognisable for its organic, architectural forms and its understated elegance. In her practice there is a system of searching, collecting and transforming; Lesley values nostalgia. Her house and sculpture practice are testament to this attachment to the past, and the recycling of materials has grown out of her core values.

‘On my first visit to Lesley’s home, I saw rooms full of large towers, assembled from broken pianos, using traditional sawn, glued and clamped joinery. Decades of work was languishing in her store rooms, everything was an artwork or about to become one.’

- Rufus Knight-Webb

Hilling trained and worked for many years as a graphic designer. She began to make box constructions in her spare time, which were influenced by the work of the American sculptors Joseph Cornell and Louise Nevelson.These early constructions grew into elaborate wall sculptures and wooden towers. By the 1990’s her sculpture projects had taken priority over graphic design and she entered a full time career in sculpture, working with England and Co Gallery in London.

‘Lesley’s work conveys a powerful sense of longing to preserve the fragments of the past, a desire for order, a passionate and mysterious evocation of lost moments.’

- Jane England

‘The things I make can be separated into two types; the constructions made from different salvaged woods and the more poetic pieces that feature found objects, things from my collections, old photos, and precariously placed magnifying glasses. I feel these pieces tell a story and the key to the story is with the viewer . . . ’
‘I work with the hues of the wood as if I were a painter.’

- Lesley Hilling

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