To set the context of this exhibition a brief background about the Carrieres and this region is important. Located near Arles and Avignon in the Provence region of France, the stone extracted from the area is of a white slightly calcareous limestone. Named after the town of Les Baux de Provence, the stone’s formation dates back 20 million years. One quarry, Les Grands Fonds, which opened in the 19th century, due to the increased demand for white limestone in building design and construction, closed in 1935 because steel and concrete became more economical to use. Today, Les Grands Fonds is known as the Carrieres de Lumieres - and features artistic light shows using projections on the immense subterranean walls of the quarry.
Light, space, shade, shadow, mass, immensity and monumentality. What do you do when as an artist you confront taking on the challenge to envision/depict these characteristics artistically? John Hopkins has adroitly merged his formal training in art and architecture to create “images that explore the boundaries between abstraction and representation with emphasis on maintaining the unique qualities of light and depth of the carrieres.” He understands the carrieres to be “incidental” architecture, having been carved for utility, yet the residual spaces offer towering expanses of monumental proportion.
His choice of monotype printing in black, white, and grey values, reveal the light, shadows, and textures that he has explored in this series of prints. “The image is created directly on an unprepared plate, and the etching press is used to transfer it onto a sheet of paper.” Each monotype is an original unique work of art.
The artwork in this exhibition was a result of a year-long exploration of the Carrieres. Hopkins' process took him from producing charcoal drawings daily on site, and then using these drawings as a reference for the monotypes, which are the final expression of his investigation.
John Hopkins lives and works in Berkeley, California and Goult, France. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Yale University and a Masters degree in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Through Hopkins Studio, John engages his love of producing art and practicing architecture as compatible pursuits.
Gurari Collections invites you to see Carrieres – Quarries of Provence an exhibition of monotype work-on-paper.