The National Museum of Wales has acquired ‘Municipal Wall Relief for a Residential Housing Complex in a Parallel Universe’ (2015-16) for their collection.
The work explores how art made for a specific civic environment might by its alien presence allow for the possibility of a certain ‘infra-ordinary’ attentiveness to occur.
‘Municipal Wall Relief’ references the work of William Mitchell in Cwmbran, South Wales, and the placement of other artists’ works throughout Britain’s new towns. I wanted to make work that seemed to arrive as if from another time and place to evoke a potential dissident space where all eras might co-exist; and that through a process of transitional superimposition of materials, place and memory, the paintings produced might contribute towards the transformation of everyday life.
Industrial enamel paint was often combined with oil or acrylic paint to create slippage and separation within masked-out areas. Bright high gloss paint is set next to matt or mute colours to create tonality. This combination of materials with painted motifs, forms and signs is used to establish a topography for an imaginary future, or indeed as the Cwmbran promotional material informs us where the ‘future is happening now. In locating and converting my embodied experience of Britain’s New Towns through painting as modular objects I wanted to draw attention to a utopian vision inherent in civic reconstruction, and modernist social housing environments. The ambition is for work that might create a sense of recognition counterbalanced by a sense of timelessness, loss, longing, disconnection and even melancholy.