British artist Susie Hamilton depicts masked and visored medics treating patients during coronavirus pandemic

Susie Hamilton's Blue Nurse 2 (2020) © Susie Hamilton

Given the virulent nature of Covid-19 and the dire shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment), there is no place for the artist on the UKs hospital wards right now. But over the past few weeks, the British artist Susie Hamilton has been producing a series of strikingly immediate images of gowned, visored and masked medics ministering to coronavirus patients.

These acrylics on paper owe their direct origins to front line pictures provided by one of her collectors, Peter Collins, a consultant hepatologist and deputy director at the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston. “Peter offered to send me photographs that hed taken which he thought would suit my interest in twisted figures, metamorphosis, and in isolation,” says the artist who is known for her fluid, deftly executed paintings that combine direct observation with classical, scientific and art historical imagery. “Id been making paintings from Ovid and now here is a real-life subject that carries the mystery and terror of Ovids Metamorphoses.”

Susie Hamilton's Yellow Doctors (2020) © Susie Hamilton

Collinss photographs provided the starting point and Hamilton now also uses news footage taken from television and online. Yet these small disquieting studies are very much her own. “Like everyone else I am deeply scared by what is happening and I have been since back in January,” she says. Describing what she refers to as “the contrast between the high-tech doctors, and all their equipment, and the mess and dishevelment of the patient in the middle”, Hamilton sometimes takes the patients point of view: “I wanted to imagine that I was lying on the bed in a position of helplessness with the doctors looming over me.”

Susie Hamilton's Doctor 7 (2020) © Susie Hamilton

She also frequently taps into art history. One painting of three doctors bending over a patient is apparently based on Guido Renis The Adoration of the Shepherds (around 1640) in the National Gallery “where there is light pourinRead More – Source