Born in Glasgow, McCallum studied and worked in London, before moving to Barcelona where he lived and worked for over a decade. Metropolis brings together around 25 large and medium paintings created around the time of his return to East London in 2016.
"....the city stimulates me in every way……”, Colin McCallum
McCallum is acutely tuned into the textures, surfaces, colours, lights and structures of the metropolitan environment. This latest collection of paintings is more than an evocation of the urban landscape; it is a visceral, emotional response to the visual overload of contemporary city life and our ‘always on’ digital technology. Many of these works are influenced by his local neighbourhood of Canary Wharf, where vast modern corporate and residential skyscrapers, illuminated by neon, loom against a diminishing backdrop of post-industrial docklands.
McCallum creates his work in series that he develops over time, returning to motifs and colours repeatedly, whilst making subtle or radical changes until a new series comes to life. He is energised by new ideas and mediums in patterns that are repeated and broken, allowing his subject matter to dictate the piece’s style and delivery. He utilises a range of media - from spray paint and stencils, as in his Prism collection, to drawing with poured paint, as he does in his Template series. In Interference, McCallum painstakingly layers horizontal lines of paint, creating colour texture that appears to change according to the light. In the Metropolis exhibition we see how McCallum is still developing his techniques and how each series of works continues to evolve.
Pattern plays a large role in his work, with regular motifs of dots and lines. He has been inspired by other artists who incorporate pattern and repetition such as 20th Century Op-artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, Bauhaus artist and textile designer Anni Albers as well as contemporary artists Peter Halley, Yayoi Kusama, Beatriz Milhazes and Sarah Morris.