About My Work

Kan No Uchi (The Cold Time), oil on canvas, copyright Pip Dickens

I am a painter concerned with visual perception, in particular, examining and challenging theories and methodologies of light and movement within the second dimension.

Concepts of illusion and double meaning are recurring themes - The notion that we may receive two contrasting visual (or intellectual) responses to a single stimulant. I am interested in playing with ideas of extremes and visual confusion - a kind of "terrible beauty".

Website: pip-dickens.com

Venus Freak, oil on canvas, copyright Pip Dickens


My painting methodology is determined by the subject matter (research) and often juxtaposes conventional painting techniques with innovative methods to create unusual surfaces, layers and textures. Spatial depth and surface contrasts are particularly important in my work.

All Embracing, oil on paper (private collection) copyright Pip Dickens


Over the years my work has drawn upon many sources -  from natural phenomena to the darker elements of phantasmagoria, from opacity to transparency, from rhythms within music to pattern structures in nature, from cinematic devices to literary sources.

I have a keen interest in Japanese culture and have undertaken research in Kyoto through a Leverhulme Trust Award Artist in Residence at the University of Huddersfield, collaborating with composer, Professor Monty Adkins.  I have developed a collection of Japanese katagami stencils and kimonos which has been a continual influence and resource.  In 2012 my solo exhibition, Patterns of Shadows at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation London launched the release of our book SHIBUSA - EXTRACTING BEAUTY published by University of Huddersfield in the same year.  This blog contains sample extracts from each chapter of the book.

Below is a review of Patterns of Shadows exhibition:

Pip Dickens’ paintings often resist words. You can describe their background textures and note the distribution of marks on a colour field, and you can spot the overlap with contemporaries like Estelle Thompson and Mark Francis, but not much more.

They seem to dwell in the shadows of meaning, their veils of ghostly fabric both suggesting and concealing their myriad sources. As if aware of this she has been collaborating in recent years with the composer Monty Adkins to find some equivalence between her visual notation and the language of music. In her new show, the haunting movement of one medium plays across the vibrating fields of the other, setting up a serene interaction that replaces analysis with engagement, words with sensations.

In her shadow land there is a sense of letting go, of drifting into a reverie: shapes rise and sink through gently oscillating surfaces and disembodied paint marks hover above and pulse beneath the steady hum of their indeterminate grounds. It is the world of dusk, of quiet reflection and hazy drift, somewhere close to the border of the unconscious mind.
Critical Review: 'PATTERNS OF SHADOWS by Pip Dickens', solo exhibition at the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation London (2012)
By Painter and arts writer, Luke Elwes, 2012

Pattern and textiles are additional sources of interest which influence specific series of paintings, for example Moire, Fabrications, and Kashmir Shawl series commissioned by The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds through study of the Sir Michael Sadler shawl collection at the University of Leeds International Textile Archive (ULITA)

Some Travel Alone, oil on canvas, Kashmir Shawl series, collection of The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds.  Copyright Pip Dickens

My most recent solo exhibition, SCREEN, explores intriguing connections between Japanese kimono textile design techniques and ‘Glorious’ Technicolour cinema, through masking, cutting, wrapping, intense colour staining and also double exposure through tint, grisaille and varnishing techniques.  My research of colour and surface continues.

Artificial Intelligence, oil on canvas, copyright Pip Dickens

A recent review of the SCREEN exhibition by sculptor, Michael Shaw can be found on the a-n (artists' newsletter site).  Or you can read more about the exhibition on these blog pages.

Full biography and exhibitions can be found at www.pip-dickens.com

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