Behind-the-scenes: In-residence at Paper Gallery, Manchester

One of the great things about being on residency is the creative freedom you have to pursue new work. A shortage of ideas isn’t a problem for me (for the moment anyway) but the time and space to experiment can be. This is why the artist space within Paper Gallery is so valuable. Its an informal set-up and I can access the studio whenever I need to, yet they can and will provide some mentoring and advice in order to develop your work further. So its a fantastic way of them getting to know you.

I often work better when I have a large mood-board in front of me, this helps me to combine and select different aspects of my practise and try out new ideas. This time its taken the form of an ongoing mural, one which is continually changing depending on what part of my idea needs to be addressed. Overall the mural represents one of the shifting dynamics between urban and non-urban spaces. The city of Manchester vs. its surrounding rural counterparts = with a constant focus on nature and the landscape.

For instance the stag’s head is an urban product of a nature, commodifying its values into plastic and wood effect. Magazine collage also feature in the floating cityscape with its long, narrow cut-outs of fashion and perfume advertising just like our man-made advertising billboards. Symbolising consumerism, yet subversive elements of nature come creeping up on it as it weathers due to the natural elements (which is one thing even we can’t hold back).

A recent helicopter trip around Manchester provides the influence behind this. Nothing surprised me more than to see the Manchester metropolis rising up in the distance, yet surrounded by dark grey motorway networks and miles upon miles of farmland as far as the eye can see. Our landscape is both obscured and beautiful at the same time.

New smaller paintings on paper combine my love for mixed media and back up my thoughts of the unnatural invading the natural. Leaving questions such as what is natural anymore, is there anything left that hasn’t been commodified or commercialised, can the landscape survive the continuous onslaught by humans, what form of nature will be around in twenty, hundred, a thousand years from now…

In residency throughout December 2015

Paper Gallery
14-20 Mirabel Street, Manchester, M3 1PJ

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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