AboutIn May Hay Hill Gallery presents the group show of contemporary British painters who focus on urban environment. The genre of urban landscape emerged in the 17th century in Netherlands and rapidly spread across Europe. Grand architecture of Amsterdam, Harlem and Venice were most widely depicted in paintings and prints of that time. The Industrial revolution of the 19th century shifted the focus to industrial areas, building sites and railways stations, celebrating the new faster, bolder and bigger world. Today, in spite of the 20th century interest in abstract and conceptual art, we witness the revival of figurative tradition and urban landscape genre is once again revisited and revitalised by the new generation of artists.
As financial services and consumerism became dominant in our society, the artistic focus shifted from The Houses of Parliament (Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, Sunset) to The City and Canary Wharf (Matthew Lindop ) as an embodiment of power and wealth. Today we see ourselves in the light of neon billboards and we catch our reflections in the glass and steel of contemporary architecture. It is therefore no wonder these subjects have such a strong presence in the art of today.
Phil Ashcroft's practice explores ideas of narrative and the spectacle within landscape. Referencing the site-specific, his work considers our present-day visions, a climate ever more pertaining to aspiration and speculation within our modern sense of reality. Combining influences from abstract expressionism, British landscape painting, Japanese woodcuts, and graphic street art, Ashcroft integrates varied visual styles to generate a crossover between space, object and environment.
Works of Twinkle Troughton are primarily concerned with the British history and society. Twinkle often uses history paintings, newspaper articles and literature as points of reference for her ideas and paintings. One may find the content of Twinkle's works rather satirical and dark, as in Tescminster Abbey and Tower of Tesco, but they are also serious, nostalgic and very political.
Kevin Fitzpatrick began as a performance artist but later turned to painting as a more rewarding medium. His concerns with issues of cultural identity in Britain are echoed in his performances and paintings alike. However, in paintings perhaps they are less vocal as Kevin is more focused on structural and visual expression through colour and composition.
The passion for architecture, buildings and structure drives Matthew Lindop's creativity. Matthew uses household gloss paints, which gives the work a vibrant, polished and crisp appearance and, combined with effect of flat colour and hard edges, makes the work spectacularly sleek and structured. The exquisite two and a half meters long panoramic view of Canary Warf is a part of the exhibition and is not to be missed.
Pedro Baztan contemplates human condition in the urban environment. He started from depicting isolated, strange places, often industrial estates and empty back street. Gradually human figures started to dominate the space and it brought the new topic of detachment and alienation of people co-habiting in the big cities.
Richard Blades is preoccupied with the process of paintings as much as the subject matter. He is seduced by scenes of striking colour and light, be it London City or a scrap yard. He often depicts scenes which one may dismiss as eyesores, these he paints in a clinical, unsentimental manner and in doing so reveals their hidden beauty.
Will Martyr focuses on depiction of luxurious, clean, modernist structures, housed within a soft vinyetted world, conjures up a sense of nostalgia. This nostalgia is for a timeless and simplified elegance, reminiscent of the post war modernism and optimism. Many of the motifs and symmetry in the works has been influenced from increasingly diverse sources including Art Deco, Modernism, Bauhaus ideals and Italian Futurist and Russian 1930's Posters.