Marieka Hambledon is an Adelaide based portrait artist whose work often explores the human condition. Hambledon grew up in an artistic household and started painting from a young age. Hambledon began her university studies in film,before transferring into a fine art degree and then eventually studied graphic design that lead to a successful 10-year career.
With her parents involved in both theatre and counselling, Hambledon was drawn to painting different characters and exploring what is means to be human. Hambledon’s art practice is primarily in acrylics to achieve her distinct dotting style. Her technique is inspired by the pointillists,utilising colourful dots and optical blending to achieve a photo realistic appearance.
Hambledon’s work is in many private collections in Adelaide and Victoria, and a commissioned work was offered as prize for the Howard Twelftree Award in 2016. In 2019 Hambledon was a finalist in the Kennedy Award, and a semi-finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. Most recently, Hambledon was a finalist in the 2020 Bluethumb Art Prize.
My technique involves painting small dots of pure, unmixed paint. The randomness of these apparently separate pigments are applied in such a way that they begin to coexist – just as they do in the flesh. The dots blend to form a photorealistic image, like pixels, but on closer inspection, the layers of dots begin to separate, revealing more fragmented, complex and abstract marks.
I utilise this abstraction technique to correlate with a pixilation of self. A visual deconstruction and then reconstruction of my subject. Like the pointillists, I play with the patterning of dots to control the gaze of the viewer and rely on optical blending to unify and bring the colours together. This ensures the pigments, when mixed in the viewers mind, retain their intensity and appear brighter.
This visual participation encourages the viewer to connect with the work further and provokes a more intimate experience of the piece. As an artist exploring what it means to be human, I want to join with my subjects to give voice to their stories in an accessible way and spark a pro-active conversation.
FINALIST – 2021 SBS NATIONAL PORTRAIT PRIZE
FINALIST – 2020 BLUETHUMB AUSTRALIAN ART PRIZE
FINALIST – 2019 THE KENNEDY AUSTRALIAN ART PRIZE
SEMI FINALIST – 2019 DOUG MORAN NATIONAL PORTRAIT PRIZE