Artists Hetty Douglas and Alfie Kungu open a dialogue onto the pressures of trying to belong today
“From a world that demands so much of us, everybody needs a bit of good luck…” painter Hetty Douglas is telling me about her upcoming joint exhibition with fellow artist Alfie Kungu – aptly titled Good Luck. Placing a magnifying glass on notions of maturity and immaturity, their show looks at a “never-ending cycle of belonging, competing, being part of all that is seen to be measurable, mature and meaningful is expressed in a raw and fundamental exploration of emotion through painting.” Opening today at London’s Cob Gallery, Good Luck brings the pair back together after their group exhibition, Screw, earlier this year – which also included Joe Clarke who served as its curator.
“It’s definitely not a ‘just because thing’”, Douglas writes over email as she takes a break between setting up. “Screw was more of a test run where we were both touching upon styles that we have now developed, and will present in Good Luck.” The artist explains that the idea to do a joint show with Kungu has long been on the cards: “We are always sending each other details and progress of our new pieces.”
Good Luck will be the pair’s most ambitious show to date, with 12 paintings in total, all larger scale than ever before and sat side-by-side. “We get stoked off each other’s work and compliment each other’s work. Alfie’s are hectic, full on and loud, and mine are loud and colourful, but with more blank space.” She adds that the duo “share a love for texture and pushing the boundaries of conventional painting.”
Anyone familiar with Douglas’s work will know that she isn’t afraid to share moments of her personal life. Good Luck is the culmination of a reflection period for the painter, who says she’s been dwelling on her past; be it her upbringing; past connections and relationships; or her attitude. “I’ve been comparing all of the above to my present self,” she says. “It’s important to not be afraid – to just create what you want to create.”
Good Luck opens 7 July – 16 July 2017 at Cob Gallery