'Tread Softly' by Ant Hamlyn

Ant Hamlyn (b,1993 Northampton, lives and works in London). Working across a pollination of hand made and digital fabrication processes, his works delve into our relationship and fluctuating enthusiasm towards contemporary life. Often creating relics from a recognizable yet parallel space. His sculptures regularly have anthropomorphic elements and explore the interplay between hard and soft to create moments of tactility and surprise through material and visual obscurity. 

In this solo show Hamlyn has centred his focus around the recreation and pressing of common yet sometimes unknowingly dangerous botanicals - All of the hand sewn plants represented in this show, despite their often playful aesthetic and portrayal in fairytales and fantasy, can kill or cause unpleasant ailments if touched or consumed. These works look to offer up a sense of intimacy and distance simultaneously. The tactile and comforting nature of the soft, palpable hand stitched fabric juxtaposed against spiked, deadly subjects and rendered just out of reach, preserved tightly behind cold, hard exterior cases. This exhibition represents a year's body of work, each of these squashed botanicals has been meticulously handmade in the studio in his unique style of flower pressing and created using hand drawn patterns, machine sewing, stuffing and hand finishing. 

‘‘ When I think about the past-time of ‘pressing flowers’ - I think about how when we crush a flower to preserve its beauty, we essentially destroy it to preserve it. These works are at once a celebration and a critique. The human relationship to flowers is a complex one in the way they symbolise love and loss simultaneously. For example; we give dying flowers to each other both in celebration and in grief. When we press a flower we are trying in some way to prolong the passing of time. This idea extends to thoughts about nostalgia and keeping alive a memory by archiving it - an attempt at catching a moment and freezing it forever. ’’

Currently based in West London, Ant Hamlyn graduated fine art at Chelsea College of Art in 2017 and Liverpool Hope University in 2015. In parallel to his wall based works, Hamlyn has designed and built both large scale & kinetic installations for venues including; Browns Fashion (Flowerstation, 2022), Daisy Green Restaurant Collection (Bloom 2020, Cactus 2022, upcoming) Victoria and Albert Museum (The Strobe Globe, 2019), Royal Academy of Art London & Royal West Academy of Art Bristol (Bandage Distraction 2019 & Little Struggles 2019) FACT Gallery Liverpool, Science Gallery Melbourne (The Boost Project, Touring 2015-18) and The Hole, Hollywood CA (Sunflower Chandelier 2022, upcoming). Hamlyn also made ’The World’s Smallest Hand Stitched Bouncy Castle (Record Pending) (2021).