Hetherington describes his style of painting as, “a sort of realism that draws on the traditions of Courbet: making plays on awkward issues, laying them on the surface.” This sense of the gritty nature of social taboo becomes manifest in Hetherington’s use of paint. Composite Picture 1 sets overlapped images of baseball caps, adorned with the favoured logos of Glaswegian neds, into a brutal field of colour. The combination of recessive and thrusting hues creates an almost tangible sense of space in the canvas, setting the stage for Hetherington’s painterly action: as brush marks battle for ground in sooty scribbles, caked on gobs of sickly yellows, and smears of red like flesh hitting asphalt. Its surface holds an aggressive tension and apprehension that is simultaneously discomforting and beautiful. His canvases are sized according to human scale, as if the viewer is confronting an ‘other’.

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