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Maggi Hambling: Interview

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Anna McNay interviews painter Maggi Hambling. Hambling's show Walls of Water is on view at the National Gallery, London (thorugh February 15) and Walls of Water: The Monotypes is on view at Marlborough Fine Art, London (through January 10).

Hambling comments: "My great thing is that the subject dictates to me, so those waves are in charge of me as I try to paint them. If I were painting your portrait, you would be in charge of me. Do you see? I try to be a channel so that the truth of those waves, or the truth of the person in front of me, if I’m doing a portrait, can come through me on to the canvas, or through me into the sculpture or the monotype. The subject is in charge and that’s very important… With regards to these waves, a lot of people will say Turner, but I much prefer Constable because I think quite a lot of the time Turner is doing all this wonderful stuff which has more to do with him than the subject, whereas, with Constable, it really is the Suffolk mound and it really is the Suffolk Punch pulling the cart. You can smell the Suffolk air, so it’s much more honest, in a way."

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