In Having and Holding Tony Hull focuses on themes of process and materiality.  Through the careful application of colour and mark making he lays bare the processes of construction, whilst at the same time implying an act of concealment through a series of barely veiled motifs competing for our attention.  On canvas and oil solidity or aluminium surfaces that appear to float across the wall, as viewers we are made strongly aware of the encounter between the agency of the artist and our own gaze.

The motifs depicted are ubiquitous – tiles, wallpaper and money – and Hull seeks through that ubiquity a sense of neutrality as well as meaning.  Money leads us to think about the commodification of art, of goods and exchange. As implied by the show title, money can act as a metaphor of (true) love, money with all its resonance of objects of desire can substitute love. The act of art intimates the act of love for sale.

At times the motifs are explicit; at other times the viewer works hard to see the passport insignia, the unicorn. We might notice,


after struggling to juggle the receding top layer and emergent high key underscore, the appearance of a regal eye and nose; or recognise that the childlike flowers that appear with friendly simplicity are the same that we handle everyday when exchanging ten-pound notes.

We are invited to consider the interaction between the in-depth and the broad strokes of consciousness. The explicit nature of the technique restrains the viewer and invites engagement with the layers beneath the surface; reminiscent of the subconscious, there is almost a yearning in the interaction between layers.

Surface and depth appear closely intertwined; the layering is at times ambiguous and the surface dislocated. The proximity between layers at times threatens to collapse the illusion, and there is a sense that things could fall apart visually. As well a relaxed sensuousness there is this sense of tolerated risk, of uncertainty. Confusion is both encouraged and tolerated.

Sara Skodbo 2006