Inside Out

Inside Out

9 January to 28 February 2004

Commissions for the city, for the country

Participating makers:
Frances Brennan
Lubna Chowdhary
Alison Crowther
Sharon Elphick
Tracey Kendall

Works of art and craft have always been commissioned for buildings and landscapes, but recent times have witnessed an explosion of commissioned artefacts and interventions. There are many good reasons for this, not least the funding opportunities provided by the National Lottery to commission new art for the historic environment.

Along with architects, developers and public bodies, private individuals too can enjoy the interactive process of commissioning. Seats, gates, lettering and stained glass have always been popular choices, but what about hand-printed wallpaper or photographic montage? As highlighted by this eclectic group of works, it is time to think afresh about what can be tailor-made (and bought) for the house and garden.

All five artists presented here relish the challenge of adapting their work to different situations. Alison Crowther's chosen material is solid 'green' English oak. She carves meandering benches that gently animate the environment, and fashions intricately textured giant seed pods which look stunning (and slightly surreal) in the open landscape. Appropriate for either indoor or outdoor settings, Frances Brennan's tactile clusters of lively wire forms may be taken apart and rearranged as the owner pleases. Even the most inhospitable space would be transformed by one of Lubna Chowdhary's large and vibrant ceramic tile panels, the detailed composition of which 'is based on the poetry of the electrical cupboard, its plugs, sockets, meters and circuitry.'

Tracy Kendall urges us to see wallpaper in a completely new light. Her bespoke designs include shimmering lengths of hand-printed sequins and applied iridescent buttons, along with sculptural stitched constructions evocative of overlapping fish scales. Suited to a tantalising range of locations, Sharon Elphick's dynamic photographic montages capture the rich variety of exotic flora and fauna, or the taken for granted patterns and rhythms in the urban landscape.

Amanda Fielding 2004

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