Brought up in the 1960s on a farm in England, Biddy Hodgkinson was constantly observing life and death cycles. In mid-life, Hodgkinson attended Chelsea College of Art where she developed her true love of colour and painting, graduating in Fine Art (BA Hons).

Inspiration for her work comes from close observations of lifecycles and a  fascination for the beauty and luminosity in decay. Through painterly and alchemic techniques, she interprets the violent intensity and beautiful imagery we see in natural decay and mould by using harmful agents, such as acids, to erase and bleach away large swathes of colours, showing them in the context of their own negation as they would be in nature. She creates intriguing, sculptural and tactile surfaces on the canvas. As Wallace Stevens wrote, "death is the mother of beauty".

Biddy in Practice

  • Why

    Whether we like it or not, our notions of aging, death and dying are media-taught. We are bombarded by images of perpetual youth and the consistent promise that with the right products the inevitable deterioration of old age can be deferred. What we see on television, in adverts, magazines, the movies and online, would have us believe that our life can be extended almost without limit, nature constantly reminds us that the opposite is true. The lessons we can learn from nature about our own mortality are filled with a set of surprising and often visually startling possibilities

  • All living things must eventually decay and die.

    In my painting I draw inspiration from my close observations of various life-cycles, with a particular focus on plants, flowers and moulds. The great fascination for me is the way that each of these life forms goes through different phases from growing and perfecting itself, to slowly decaying and returning back into the ground or surface it came from.

    Each flower, plant or mould will manifest itself with slightly distinct features: each one unfolding a unique and often overlooked and individual drama of colour and form.

  • Each painting represents, for me, the refreshing of a new and distinct life-cycle, which continues posthumously from the previous painting. In this respect the progression and individual aesthetic of each of my paintings draws on spectacles in danger of being utterly obliterated and obscured by the shallow imagery of this modern, perpetual youth-obsessed culture we currently live in.