A studio visit with curator Helen Nisbet (currently curatorial fellow at Cubitt Gallery London) included discussion around mapping spaces, particularly the presentation and re-presentation of place in paint. I have been deeply involved in a commission to make work in response to Cambridge Judge Business School, and Helen has been an invaluable part of the discursive process around the development of the work. The School is housed in a building with origins as far back as 1766, through 19th Century renovation to a post modern re-envisioning by architect John Outram and this year, a new, contemporary addition by Stanton Williams.
The commission has caused me to think deeply about how we look and read a building, particularly when it assaults our senses either through wonderful chaos or subtle muted rhythms. The joyous, overexcited post modern interior of Cambridge Judge Business School is now partnered with a serene sibling in the new, adjoining Simon Sainsbury Building.
Working in egg tempera and developing my knowledge of the medium has gone hand in hand with the simultaneous Thought for Food gatherings. The use of this medium for the Cambridge commission brought together a natural connection between the fresco secco work in Renaissance cathedrals and spiritual iconography, and the brightly coloured interior of the cathedral like Judge School. The ancient and fast drying medium brings challenges, not least the management and manoeuvring of paint across swathes of gessoed surface. Tempera is suited to small, on hair strokes of the brush, breaking this tradition has risks, not least lifting under layers of paint.
Sometimes we pay attention to unexpected things; persistent circular indents revealing a luxurious palette; vibrant terrazzo, an architectural map of green sea and red islands. The paintings I have made are the consequence of a visceral reaction to the buildings. Positioned in-between architectural space and interior adornment, the works make their own attempt at redecoration, presenting the building back to itself. The works, which come together under the title Temporal, have been informed significantly by the topics discussed in the Thought for Food gatherings. They act as a selective archive of the building, and bring into question how we choose to catalogue,. They map the space, and visually represent the difference between time determined interiors. In addition each painting presents a boundaries snapshot, determined by my own process of decision making during the making of the works. For this reason, amongst others, Boundaries will be the next Thought for Food topic.