Archive of works and projects 2001 – 05.
The Daily News
The Daily News, digital video with sound, 3mins 20secs, 2005.
This is a work inspired by a story I found online:
“This story of two New-Yorkers is one of sheer neurosis: Living together in a small apartment, they went out every day to buy groceries and newspapers. For years, they didn’t seem to have anything else to do other than to read tens of daily newspapers.
When the building superintendent hadn’t seen them for a few days, he alerted the police; they were found dead, killed by poisonous fumes from faulty heating, lying on piles of papers. The state of the apartment was indescribable. Right up to the ceiling, piles of carefully tied-up newspapers filled four rooms… There were two ever-narrowing and dangerous passageways, one leading to the bathroom, the other to the front door.”
The Daily News features the interior space of my old duplex flat in Byker Wall, Newcastle – a building famously designed in the 1970s by Scandinavian architect Ralph Erskine. Shaky-eye-view camera work leads the viewer from room to room, each of which is filled with bundles of newspapers and little other sign of human habitation. The camera work and content make reference to the ground-breaking horror movie The Evil Dead, which pioneered the use of the low to the ground ‘stalker‘ camera shot, and to the TV documentary programme Life of Grime New York which recently featured some council workers cleaning up an apartment in which a several week old corpse had been discovered in bed – the programme showed the state of the mattress, soaked through with various fluids, the smells emitted left to the viewers’ imaginations.
The Daily News was shot using a miniature web-cam within an exact 1/8 scale model of the Byker Wall apartment, built in my studio.
Sack is a collection of cross-media works that all feature disposable plastic bags – large format paintings, smaller scale screen-prints, giant replica carrier bags and a blow-up from a mini Polaroid of a giant black bin-bag (the bag was discovered on a London street in the vicinity of Cork Street, the capitals erstwhile ‘art capital’).
Stripey carrier bags are a part of everyday life. Along with their cousins, the plain single-colour carriers, these bags represent an unbranded and utilitarian form of shopping. For Sack, these everyday disposable items are transformed to reflect the scale and ambition of modernist abstract paintings; any high-minded pretensions are however, displaced by the bags ordinariness. Sack also includes a series of screen-prints of carrier bags collected from fish’n’chip shops, greengrocers and other non-brand stores from around the world.
Colour-blind, 2 screen DVD installation, 2003.
Colour-blind features shots of two domestic settings that could be read as part of a single narrative – the one representing what lies behind the other – or as two separate scenes at odds with one another – one somewhat kitsch and banal, the other rather more disturbed.
A multi-coloured plastic tassel blind flutters in a darkened doorway, obscuring the view through to a room beyond. Next to it, a short looped shot appropriated from the movie version of American Psycho features a room strewn with garbage, its walls decorated by blood-coloured splashes and graffitied text that reads ‘Die yuppie scum’. As the camera pans quickly around this room, the space is revealed as the realm of an unhinged obsessive, with chaotic painterly angst hinting something sinister and disturbed.
Colour-blind was first exhibited at Waygood Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne in 2003 as part of the exhibition ‘Tuesday is cerise’. The two clips were projected onto a pair of screens standing at an angle of approx 120 degrees to each other, each screen measured 300cmx400cm approximately. In 2007, a new single screen version of the work was created and a soundtrack added to both intensify the sense of paranoid claustrophobia and to create a definite beginning and an end.
Car Splash, a series of screen prints, appears to document a romantic or even heroic moment. What might be the record of a wave as it breaks on the shore, or an abstract expression of painterly angst, is in fact the product of more everyday phenomena: the abstract splashes in these images were created by car drivers carelessly manoeuvring their vehicles through giant puddles on rainy days. Being the victim of a car’s splash on such a day causes minor annoyance to pedestrians going about their walking. Car Splash elevates this moment to one of sublime painterly beauty.
TV Car Splash pat 1: Carrie’s Splash. Originally exhibited as part of 3 screen DVD installation, 2003.
TV Car Splash further develops the theme of the Car Splash images. The three-monitor DVD installation features footage appropriated from TV car adverts and a TV show title sequence. The splashes have been removed from their original environment and posited onto a black background. Each of the short splash sequences is looped for continual play.
Pane was created for the exhibition ‘Stay’ at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland. Images of broken windows were printed onto clear plastic film which was then adhered to the surfaces of the windows in an area of the gallery known as the art-lounge. Pane caused a subtle and unexpected transformation of the space. The usually slick interior was infiltrated by a series of images that reflected on less kempt, less immaculate spaces. The apparently broken windows reminded the viewer of the urban decay visible in more unfortunate buildings, some of which may never receive the kind of make-over style redevelopment that would eventually lead to their transformation into a gallery or museum complex.
Kitchen Towel Top 10
Kitchen Towel Top 10 transforms an every day domestic object, the disposable kitchen towel (or kitchen roll), into a minimal ikon, imbuing these chintzy cushioned sheets with a status beyond their more usual purpose of mopping spillages.
Each design is carefully drawn in graphite pencil on a white primed canvas. The 10 top designs hang in series on a white cube gallery wall.