Leicester Contemporary
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Thursday, May 12, 2022
16 Market St, Leicester LE1 6DP
East Midlands
Leicester Contemporary


David Maddock: a residency at Leicester Contemporary

Private View Friday 29th April 6-9pm

Taking the refurbished public space here in the vicinity of Leicester Contemporary as a point of departure, I have tried to evoke the unsettling sense of uncertainty that pervades the area in this time of change. Pandemic aside, Leicester, like many regional cities in the UK, has been subject to the repercussions of innovative work practice and on-line commerce. Our experience of city life is being transformed accordingly as new economic realities manifest themselves in the local precincts and thoroughfares — hence the title of the exhibition.

My response to the mutating environment is intuitive but, like the caricaturist who distorts appearance in order to reveal an underlying truth, I reimagine outward forms in order to convey at least some of the underlying reality. My appeal is not to verisimilitude so much as the veracity of shared experience. Authentic experience does, of course, encompass the gamut of normal life: the fleeting sign of our times, whether it takes a material form like litter strewn in the street or a temporal one like an altercation between pedestrians, can speak with an eloquence that is denied to more enduring expressions of public life. Structural statements such as those embodied in Leicester’s late-Victorian heritage and the recent development in and around High Cross are eloquent too of course but in the sense of a context that conditions one’s everyday experience. I have tried to suggest through this body of work that, taken alone, neither the ephemeral truth nor its enduring context can fully convey the experience of everyday life in Leicester but that, together, they convey compelling truths about life as it is lived in this municipal city at the moment.

My use of that most transitory of materials, corrugated cardboard, supports the idea of impermanence in the urban setting. Apart from its association with the immediate environment, I like the redemptive quality that throw-away cardboard assumes when it is transformed into a work of art. Once used, discarded, and then returned to use, reclaimed cardboard can serve as a metaphor for the mundane realities and, indeed, the possibilities, of life in our well-worn city as it negotiates another round of upheaval in a long and chequered history.

Having studied Fine Art at Bristol and Goldsmith’s College, David Maddock has taught Art and Design since 1984 and exhibited intermittently throughout that time. In 1991, he completed an Art History masters in Leeds where he catalogued the works of George Clausen in the Sam Wilson Bequest at the City Art Gallery before submitting a thesis on English modernist theory between 1910 and 1914. He returned to the topic, expanding upon it, some years later when he completed his PhD at Leicester University. His book, Roger Fry, Clive Bell and American Modernism, was published by Peter Lang Ltd in 2020 and he is currently working on a paper that explores the museological significance of a meeting in 1927 between the influential English art critic, Roger Fry, and the first Director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Alfred Barr Jr. The practices of painting and research continue to complement one another.

This will be the final exhibition of the one-year project that became Leicester Contemporary, ran by the Company of Artists who are:

Steven Allbutt, Loz Atkinson, Andrew Birks, Tim Fowler, Adam Khalifa. Matt Macken, Lucy Stevens & Tom Van Herrewege.

We would like to thank:

Manny Singh, Steve Gill & Mike Francis for their generosity and allowing us to use the building.

Councillor Danny Meyers, Sarah Harrison. Amrit Doll, Kevan Grantham, Rebecca Vials and everyone at Leicester City Council, particularly for the contribution from their Cultural Ambition Fund.

James Burkmar, Chris Slowe and everyone at LCB Depot.

Everyone at StudionAme and Churchgate Artist Studios, particularly Yuka Namekawa.

Pragnell Jewellers for their support and generosity.

All of the artists and organisations who have worked with us and shown their work here:

Cathrine Anholt, David Ian Brown, Ed Burkes, Chris Coward, Kay Gasei, Rob Lyon, Holly Mills, Benjamin Murphy, Greg Patel- Harris, Rhiannon Salisbury, Lorna Sinclair, Alexis Soul Gray, Jason Tessier, Frankie Thorp, Castor Gallery, Andy Wicks, Georgia Lauren Stevenson, Claire Bailey, Alia Hamaoui, Jaime Welsh, Jack West, Grace Woodcock. Rendah Films, INFEMS intersectional feminist art collective; Roxanna Halls, Rebecca Fontaine Wolf, Wendy Elia, Adelaide Demoah, Dr Marie-Anne Mancio, Macha Barnden, Lucy Cade, Hatty Buchanan, Mita Vaghela. Jonathan Dredge and Ross Belton. Leicester Lo-Fi, Mark Boot, DMU Photography and video students; Harry Hempshall, Cameron Wanford, Marco Minoletti, Katerina Chrsitodoulou. Hope Willis, Paisley Web, Olivia Castledine, and their lecturer, Sally Hossack. UK New Artists; curator Saziso Phiri & Jiten Annand, Ant Hamlyn, Tom Faber, Lucy Gregory, Lucy Naylor & Alexandra Macupova. Courtney Askey, Doug Fishbone and David Maddock.

Thanks to “Run Your Tongue” for the spoken word nights organised by Rob Reeves and Rosa Fernandez.

Special thanks to all of our volunteers who have helped to keep the gallery running:

Jemima Vaughan, Savannah Irving, Beth Melvin, Nathan Davies, Ellie Monkman, Jasmine Kelly Gobuiwang, Morrigan Ivy, Zara Whitehead, Josie Holyoak, Ruby Martin, Evy Valles Sessions.

Apologies to anyone who may have been missed. All your invaluable support has been hugely appreciated.

Last but by no means least we would like to thank all those who visited the gallery over the past year, we hope you have enjoyed it. There will be more…