Things As They Ought To Be: Painting exhibition by Anthony McCorry21. Jan - 19. Feb 10 / ended EXHIBIT
Things as they ought to be
Since the 1940’s, government and councils treated housing as a problem that needed to be fixed quickly, rather than viewing it as a chance to create an inspired foundation within a healthy and equal society. In such an era of challenge, the rise of the local authority housing, or council estate, seemed to be the answer to their problems. Over time, however, most were to reveal the consequences of such hurried and ill-conceived planning.
Throughout Britain, council estates are often portrayed as places to be feared, or the very source of social ills - from gang culture, high unemployment, and relentless petty stupidity to anti-social behavior. British painter Anthony McCorry proposes that such stigma should be reassessed; and that with a deeper appreciation of the complexity of life and conditions, living on council estates can be rewarding, rather than miserable.
Anthony McCorry was born in Birmingham in 1963, where he spent his childhood in the Chelmsley Wood area of Birmingham, at the time the largest area of social housing in Europe. After graduating from the University of Sunderland with a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art, and completing an MA Fine Art at Coventry University, McCorry spent many years focusing his work on built environments and exploring the theme of social housing through painting. During excursions made to other British towns in the 1980’s as a football supporter, McCorry confronted a number of unsettling landscapes, which reinforced his unique observations and recurring memories of living in Chelmsley Wood. Since then, he has captured whatever triggers his consciousness and compulsions, using photography, brushes and paint. In his work, shut-down pubs, run-down structures and uncanny vistas, all display a disquieting quality about decay and alienation. McCorry idealizes the actuality, shuns the conspicuous, and subtly turns everything into a world of meditation.
In 2001, McCorry received a Creative Ambition Award from West Midland Arts and the encouragement resulted in his biggest and most ambiguous project yet - “British Estates.” This involved documenting specific areas of social housing in and around major British cities. The project has continued to develop, as has his style and approach. During his 6 months artist-in-residency at EXHIBIT, McCorry has extended his artistic manifesto to challenge long-held preconceptions. Influenced by the unique environment and the supportive community, the dream-like quality of the new series of work will expose the artist’s own emotional response to a reality he once ceased to believe in.
“Things as they ought to be” will display 5 completed paintings and 1 in-progress installation with images captured by the residents and McCorry together. During his residency at EXHIBIT, McCorry has always had an on-going interest in the Golden Lane Community Club, and has constant dialogue with the participating residents. It is his hope that by engaging as many residents as possible to collaborate in his process, their emotional viewpoint about living on the estate will be brought closer to the observer.
5 Opinions where posted
review from 'a world to win'
by tony mccorry 31.01.10 20:09
http://www.aworldtowin.net/reviews/GoldenLane.htmlReport this opinion as offensive
Drop the Syringe
by Alex Michon 31.01.10 23:16
When modernist architect Erno Goldfinger designed Balfron Tower, the first of three blocks of council flats on Rowlett Street in Polar in the early 1960s he moved into a flat on the 26th floor and surprised the other tenants by regularly inviting them up for a glass of champagne to ask his neighbours what they did or did not like about their new homes. I doubt if such lugubrious refreshment was on offer when Anthony McCorry invited the residents to comment on his paintings during his residency at the Golden Lane Community Club in East London. He does however incorporate some of the residents comments onto one of the canvases, one notes that McCorry has given her favourite balcony
a rather wonky appearance whilst another states that the colours remind him of West Ham United. What is interesting about these paintings is the artistic
intention to replace the tired old cliches of council estates as brutalist ghettos
Bright blue skies are in evidence with glossy magenta and pink facades. His estates hint at forgotten and much maglined uptopian visions. But this is not some artsy fartsy prettification, Mc Corry himself grew up in the Chelmsley Wood neighbourhood in Solihull on a similar estate. His paintings are a conscious attempt at repositioning the debate around social housing. It is all too easy to paint the discarded syringes and all the shit that we are used to seeing around estates he says. And as the title suggests McCorry takes the riskier option of painting
Things As They Ought to Be. But it is not all sweetness and light he paints the YMCA from the top of Great Arthur as an ugly grey block, with a darkly ominous
grey sky most of the residents it seems hate this big bugger of a building because it blocks their views. Paintings can inhabit various positions, sometimes as in these by McCorry they can act as political and philosophical signifiers of a world outside the limited four corners of a canvas.
by romantaher 01.02.10 14:38
The show is inspiring in a sense as this simple yet symbolic artwork can portray such immense energy. The paintings show particuar skill in capturing the sense of perspective. Hence entrancing you into the space. The atmosphere of the environment both in the studio and externally have cohesion in its nature. Building on this aesthetic feeling. I would recommend this show to anybody who wish to explore the contradictory feel of such an envirnment. The show also explores the process in which Tony works from and towards the concept. Looking forward to the rest of the shows!!!!Report this opinion as offensive
Are Residencies like this any good for artists?
by tony mccorry 19.02.10 12:32
Has anyone ever been mugged in an artistic collaboration?