Wednesday, 28 July 2010

'Art In Empty Spaces' with Dave the Butcher

I’ve been in Queens Square, West Bromwich today installing a selection of my ‘Seek My Face’ portraits in a series of empty shops there. It’s part of an initiative by Sandwell Arts called ‘Art in Empty Spaces’. The shop fronts have been re-fitted, together with another unit which has been turned more into a ‘white cube’ gallery space, with the aim to exhibit artist’s work in the region and do something more creative with these once busy retail units. My paintings have been used with the hope that they may raise some interest by local artists in putting proposals forward for exhibitions and projects.

I enjoyed seeing the work in such a different context such as the old butcher’s window, after some initial uncertainties about the idea, particularly after the paintings have already been shown twice in the town at the Town Hall and The Public. The portraits are all based on people from West Bromwich though, and I have a firm conviction that they should be more widely seen in the community they reflect. This seems like a great opportunity in this regard, and they certainly attracted a lot of interest from passers-by.

Before hanging, I had all 30-odd paintings spread out along the arcade to help me select. They looked great, and I’m kicking myself for not photographing this. I eventually chose nine, and am hoping to go along each week in the two months they will be up to change one or two of them. I think it help keep the installation a bit more active with this passing audience.

It looks almost like a West End Gallery in the picture above...!

I stored all the unused paintings in the empty butcher’s behind the exhibition walls. It’s a fascinating and eerie space, with it’s bloody history indelibly printed in the walls. My nephew Luke, who helped me hang the work, said it was like something out of the ‘Saw’ movies. Creepy….

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