Alexander Kennedy, 'Charlie Hammond' (The List, 15/02/2007)
There is both an undeniable sense of conceptual precision and a wicked sense of humour informing the work of Charlie Hammond at Sorcha Dallas. The selection of work on display bears the marks of its making – but not in the po-faced way that some artists approach the ineffable realm of ‘process’. These sculptures, paintings and photographs are unified with a cynical and wry glance at the mythical idea of ‘the artist at work’; supposedly gestural marks that some read as royal roads into the soul are nothing more than the skids and scrapes of a drill-bit on a canvas, or the toe or heal of a big boot in mud (clay).
Hammond dances on the face of the figurative in ‘Sculptures with their heads kicked in’ (stoneware ceramic), where the material has been moved about by the artists feet. The faces that emerge bear the deep scars of what appear to be welly boot prints. There is a sideways nod towards the idea of the artist as primitive in these totemic masks, as well as in the photograph beside them, where two dandified artists (Hammond and Nick Evans) sit in Hepworth’s studio at St. Ives. Enamel paint masks the faces, adding colour and nonsense to the image.
The paintings that appear with these works continue this critique of the modern primitive, with grimacing faces and pantomime-style horses emerging from the shallow muddy puddle of the canvas’s surface. The ‘Booted Stalagmite and Stalactite’ sculptures stick up through the floor and ceiling like two rude middle fingers.