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Ken Hamilton has enlisted the values of both the Dutch and Italian Renaissance painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, ever since his training at the University of Ulster Belfast. He has rejected the trends of so-called contemporary art and sought to restore some of the ancient values of painting now discarded by so many.
It was here where he also delved into the study of the techniques, mediums and pigments employed so frequently by these masters. Light and shadow play a crucial role in creating highly realistic and almost idealised figures. A classical beauty is created with the use of traditional ochres and umbers, and this classical beauty is ultimately modernised with the inclusion of soft blush tones and golds. The use of gold, especially in his works entitled “La Reine De Saba” and “New Horizons” echoes Byzantine icons, capturing on canvas the same wonderful lustre of a mosaic.
‘Quiet elegance’ can describe the work of Ken Hamilton. A sense of wonder and questioning radiates from his work, as if his figures are lost in a maze of inward contemplation or thought. This same stillness appears to be drawn from the work of Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer. Hamilton himself describes his vision as “contemporary and also timeless; realistic yet representing an unreal world; almost touchable but totally beyond our reach; as plain as day but still mysterious.”
Ken Hamilton’s style can be described as a contemporary Renaissance; a modern “rebirth” of the ideals enlisted by the artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, going against the popular use of abstraction and distortion seen so frequently in modern and contemporary art.
Ken Hamilton was born in Nigeria, West Africa, where he lived until age 11, at which time he moved to Ireland and has remained ever since.