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Jo Hamilton, Dr. ‘Sir’ Steven Toth

Jo Hamilton, Dr. ‘Sir’ Steven Toth (2014), mixed crocheted yarn [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 5-28]

Jo Hamilton: Whom

Laura Russo Gallery
Portland OR – Feb 5-28, 2015

Jo Hamilton, Reckless Driver

Jo Hamilton, Reckless Driver (2014), mixed crocheted yarn [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 5-28]

Jo Hamilton, Janet Echelman

Jo Hamilton, Janet Echelman (2014), mixed crocheted yarn [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Feb 5-28]

Portland artist Jo Hamilton creates contemporary portraiture with the unexpected medium of crocheted yarn. A native of Scotland, Hamilton learned to crochet as a young child from her grandmother. Her formal art training was in painting and drawing, earning her a BFA from the Glasgow School of Art. Hamilton spent close to 20 years working in oils and watercolour, feeling she hadn’t found the right medium for her work until she hit on crochet as her medium of choice. Her first crocheted piece of art – a large-scale cityscape of Portland – took years to complete.

Much of Hamilton’s recent work has been figurative, focusing on portraits of people she knows, images of mug shots, and lately, residents and staff at a local care facility for people living with HIV/AIDS, where she has been a long-time volunteer.

Using a photograph for reference, Hamilton’s labour-intensive process of  “painting with yarn” is largely focused on colour relationships and tonality to attain the depth of form and likeness of character she seeks to capture. A signature element – loose dangling yarns that freely hang from the bottom of the wall-mounted portraits – adds to the warmth of these already sensitive pieces. This first solo exhibit at Laura Russo Gallery includes yet another facet of Hamilton’s inventive work – three-dimensional head forms covered in her visually captivating multicoloured crochet.

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Apr 7, 2015