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Maggi Hambling by Eamonn McCabe

Artists and Their Studios Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London

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Artists and Studios Exhibition by Eamonn McCabe at the National Portrait Gallery in London

Maggi Hambling by Eamonn McCabe, June 2004. From the "Artists and Their Studios" Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Photo © Eamonn McCabe
In the book accompanying this exhibition, Maggi Hambling is quoted as saying "Eamonn McCabe's images of we artists are not those images we have of ourselves. Consequently this visual commentary connects us with our work in a new way."1

I certainly found the photos connected me with the artist behind works I'd encountered in exhibitions or books in a new way. Given how paint is applied in Hambling's work, it was a surprise to see her studio walls and floor aren't smothered in paint too.

This photo of Hambling could be one of her taking a smoke break except that another photo shows her at work cigarette in hand, so it could be one of her waiting for the muse to arrive. Hambling apparently "works all the hours she can ... until the muse arrives"2 and if the muse doesn't, the canvas will be destroyed. Nothing's said though about how long before she decides the muse isn't going to arrive.

References: Artists and Their Studios by McCabe and McNay, p6 and p12.

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