Saturday, 20 December 2008

'Nature Bandaid'

A theme developing in my work is the relationship between nature and the man-made in the urban environment. I'm collecting 'evidence' of nature's resilience in neglected urban setting, and comparing and contrasting this with more 'landscaped' urban nature.

Here are some photographs I recently took of Trellick Tower. This 31-storey block of flats was designed in the Brutalist style by architect Erno Goldfinger in 1966 (completed in 1972). In these pictures I've tried to fuse the sparse vegetation with the raw concrete of the building.

The term 'nature bandaid' sprang to mind observing this austere scene. I've borrowed this term from the author and social critic James Howard Kunstler. In this clip: The tragedy of suburbia he talks about how suburbia was proposed initially as an antidote to the industrial life and thus how the concept of 'countryside' became commodified.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Thames barrier and Docklands

I took a trip on Monday to see the Thames Barrier. I find the whole docklands area of London really interesting. The tension between old and new can definitely be sensed here. The vestiges of the historic industrial past stand side by side with the signs and symbols of the future. The way in which these neglected places are 'regenerated' provides an insight into society's value system - what is retained and preserved, what is demolished and replaced, how is it replaced. These dilapidated areas the provide visual clues to a bygone era. The abandoned warehouses and factories are legacy of the the last century. The luxury apartment blocks and offices which will soon replace these buildings will be our legacy.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

'Almost an Island' exhibition

This exhibition was curated by the Print MA. All the artwork was based on the poem 'The Drunken Boat' by Arthur Rimbaud. The 100 line poem is arranged in 25 quatrains. These were the lines I had to illustrate:

I have followed, for whole months on end, the swells Battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows, Never dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys Could force back the muzzles of snorting Oceans!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

'Colouring in time' exhibition

'Colour in time, Colouring in time, Colouring time’ was the theme of this week’s student lead exhibition at Wilson Road organised by the Book Arts MA. Time, and how environments and objects change with it’s passing was the inspiration for my piece. The illustration is one from a series I’m undertaking which has to do with my grandmother’s house. This house has been uninhabited for many years, yet despite it’s abandonment it still retains many clues or signposts to it’s previous incarnation as a family home. The atmosphere and personality of the previous occupants is still traceable within the house. I find these sort of abandoned human spaces really interesting. They contain ‘evidence’, and reveal the hidden histories. Their dereliction illustrates a sort of tension between the man-made and natural environments, demonstrating the contrast between man’s efforts to maintain, structure and preserve, and the natural worlds propensity to constantly renew and change.  Lack of human maintenance allows nature to take over and reclaim. Combining materials, paint, photography and drawing, helps me to create atmosphere and enables me to convey the concept memory.