Harriet Mena Hill is a British artist who became known in the early 1990’s for her depictions of imagined architectural spaces painted on gesso, on found objects, which spoke of the inner landscapes of the mind. These metaphysical wanderings developed into a complex gridscape world she explored for over a decade which manifested in ‘Mapping the Grid’ at the Chapter House, Worcester Cathedral in 2012
‘Receptivity is the condition of being an artist ; by encouraging slow looking in a fast world Hill makes that condition available to others. These paintings derive their significance from collaboration between maker and receiver’
Martin Holman 2012 Mapping the Grid
Hill's recent work has seen a consolidation of her educational outreach work with her studio practice. Since 2018 she has worked extensively with residents on the Aylesbury Estate in South East London researching the connection of memory and place in light of the pending demolition of the entire estate. The Aylesbury research has produced two distinct bodies of work - Soft Concrete and The Aylesbury Fragments.
Soft Concrete seeks to counteract the public perception of the Aylesbury as a failed estate through a series of large portraits of the blocks made in felt.
The Aylesbury Fragments is a series of paintings made on pieces of concrete salvaged in early 2020 from the demolition of Chiltern, a block of flats which was previously home to over 500 Aylesbury residents.
‘Hills' paintings repurpose the salvaged material to form a fragmented visual record of the original buildings. The images reveal a formal beauty in the geometric lines and grids of the Brutalist towers and speak with poignancy of the individual lives lived within. Appearing almost like relics and imbued with nostalgia,their details of night - lit windows, washing fluttering on balconies or a graffiti tag are evidence of the human presence,
Whilst acknowledging the inevitability of change in any urban environment the work seeks to give a voice to communities and individuals who are often overlooked by civic planners.’
Emma Hill 2021 The Aylesbury Fragments