This is not a formal show of finished paintings. There are two completed works: Stepped Wallspine Dark Top (Streatham) and Streatham Wallspine Blue/Brown – each less than two weeks old – hung in the working environment in which they were made. There are three other works in progress; a red oxide ‘disintegrating’ painting that I have wanted to make for a while, some material scraps pinned up on the wall by the door (which I hope will find form one day as a soft yellow painting) and a pile of folded and stained canvas elements on wheels waiting to be developed into a dark Streatham painting.
I arrived here three and a half weeks ago with a 50m roll of 72-inch canvas (cut into 3–4 metre lengths), a box full of pigments, size and my sewing machine. I walked the streets of Streatham accompanied by 2nd year Fine Art students from UAL Wimbledon with the canvas on a trolley looking for places to work. We did mange to find a few decent places. One was the triangular scrap of land at the junction of Streatham Hill and Brixton Hill, another was up an alley behind shops adjacent to St Leonard’s on the high street, and the final spot was the small war memorial park just opposite Streatham common. The canvas was laid out onto the hard surfaces, steps and walls, and was marked up and cut into sections by my assistants and me. Back in the studio the sections of canvas were washed, hung up to dry and in some cases more colour was worked in.
Leigham Court Estate had a big impact on the colour I chose to use. The variety of dark iron oxide red brick, glazed bricks, tiles and terracotta used in the early phase of the estate architecture is compelling. To this I added a blue; a ubiquitous colour used in contemporary town planning. These two colours in combination are characteristic of the streets around the ASC studio. The paintings I wanted to make communicate through physical qualities and are sewn together and contain interior spaces. They define space rather than occupying space.
The intention here has been to reveal as much as possible – within a short amount of time – about how the paintings are made and to allow access to the working environment to support this. The sub-plot that has emerged is that working to develop ways to expose the evidence of the making process is the work – and this is what the DOLPH brief sets out to expose.
With special thanks to my assistants and UAL Wimbledon:
Clara Goncalves Dias, Becky Hanney, Pratikchha Thapa, Megan Visser and Sion Webb.
Simon Callery 2016