South Hill Park Arts Centre
South East England

Derek Hill’s current crop of paintings are luminous, temptingly tactile and wonderfully immersive, high praise from someone who finds at best abstract art leaves her cold. But not so Derek Hill’s current FLAW series whose presence is underlined by the pervasive scent of the industrial paint and other chemicals used in their production, whose delicate surfaces are a testament to both the directed application of paint and the knowledge of how such materials will react with one another.

I had the opportunity to talk with Derek at his recent private view at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell and was surprised by his own reaction to his works. He told us that he wasn’t passionate about his works individually only passionate that he was able to make them. At the time I couldn’t understand this and frankly didn’t believe him, what Fine Artist doesn’t feel passion for his works? I certainly have love for each of my paintings, even going as far to think of them as my children on occasion (as far as I can understand that sentiment having no children of my own).

This may be the crux of Derek’s feelings. He spoke with pride about paintings since sold that had, by nature of his process, continued to change over time (the volume and layering of the paints and other chemicals means paintings take years to dry and even moving an apparently “dry” work can result in unforeseen changes to still fluid under layers). It is not the pride and passion of creating a painting/child that I might expect, but of creating something that will continue to grow under its own direction, in response to its environment as well as its constituent parts.

I understand how Derek can be dispassionate about his paintings. He, by the very organic nature he has created, has to let go of them as a parent lets go of their own children to follow the path they wish to lead. I also think that it is this atypical quality of organic change that I find so appealing in his abstract work.