Hedley Roberts makes ‘non-portraits’ of lovers, friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. He begins by working from photographic collages using source material found from social media sites or images sent to him by friends. Sometimes he begins with a photographic image of someone that he wishes to portray, more usually he begins with a collaged image or photograph of someone who looks similar to his subject. Occasionally he just begins.
Hedley's painting starts figuratively with recognisable features and representational composition, but as he progresses, elements are obliterated, layered over, removed or simplified. Works can be realised in a single sitting, across weeks or even returned to over years. Throughout, Hedley ‘imagines’ his relationship with the person portrayed, creating an internalised dialogue between eye, mind, body and the process of painting. In this activity, Hedley ‘s painting aims to phenomenologically embody the dialogue between the artist and subject, to ‘make flesh’ of the interior of both, and render that which is invisible – tangible. Eventually, the image is transformed and ‘becomes’ a ‘non-portrait’ of the person that the artist imagines.
Hedley Roberts lives and works in Margate Kent and London. He is a graduate of Central Saint Martins BA Fine Art and the Royal College of Art MA Fine Art Printmaking, and also has a Doctorate in Fine Art from the Univesity of East London. He has been a Royal College of Art Fine Art Fellow and a Stanley Picker Fellow at Kingston University. He has worked for 20 years in Higher Education and is currently Head of Art & Design at the University of East London. He runs a number of artists Residency projects, including ‘Directional Forces’ which has has taken place in Germany, Serbia, Italy and Greece and involved over 60 artists since 2011. Solo exhibitions include ‘Hedley Roberts’, Wolo Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (2014), and ‘The Lovers’, Herrick Gallery, London (2014). Recent group exhibitions include Pravac Sila, Ozone Belgrade, Serbia (2014); Factual Nonsense, Red Gallery, London (2014) and Sunday in the Park With Ed, Display Gallery, London (2014). His work has been presented nationally and internationally including at the International Symposium of Electronic Arts Japan, Superdeluxe Gallery Tokyo Japan, Artoll Germany, Annexe Gallery Malaysia, Nanyang Academy of Fine Art Singapore, Susak Biennual Croatia, Ozone Belgrade, APT London and Vyner Street Gallery London. His work is in several private collections in the UK, Europe and South East Asia.