EMERGING at the Brunel Museum café gallery
Date(s) - 14/02/2018
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
February and March 2018
This third show at the Brunel Museum by Hilary McCallin, follows Submerged and Merged in 2014 and 2015, and continues with more site-specific collages which reference the Brunels’ tunnel under the Thames.
The background images of these collages are taken from the artist’s photographs of the walls of the Grand Entrance Hall, an underground chamber that housed the original staircase and the southern access to the Thames Tunnel in Rotherhithe. The old plastered walls reveal random, organic, lichen-like shapes that contrast sharply with the formal, geometric and rhythmic nature of the central grid in the collage. This grid is a stylised representation of the end elevation of Le Corbusier’s L’Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles finished in 1952. Like the Brunels’ tunnel (opened in 1843), which was the first in the world to be built under a navigable waterway, L’Unité d’Habitation was ground-breaking. A model for communal housing and “a machine for living in”, Le Corbusier based his inventive, modular design on the proportions of the human figure.
As with other recent collages, Hilary has utilised her father’s stamps (and also this time 2018 newsprint) cut into shapes that endeavor to recall for the viewer natural phenomena from personal experience and memory.
Finally, some of Hilary’s work, up to this time, has been subliminally influenced by and so referenced the work of artist, Anthony Benjamin. Two of his screen-prints from 1972 have been on the wall of her flat for the last twenty-five years. She recently discovered his name and researched his work. Like Hilary, Benjamin liked to use bright colours and the wavy borders of the collages in EMERGING have been, this time, consciously referenced from these 1972 prints. Anthony Benjamin was another pioneer. In the 1960”s he was a tutor on the groundbreaking course at Ealing College of Art where he encouraged students to ignore old conservative preconceptions of the way art should be taught and made. Instead his new, radical, creative education encouraged art students to throw away the rules, and start from the ground up, resulting in what critics viewed as a dangerous spirit of anarchy.
Hilary graduated from the University of East London with a fine art degree in 2007 after many years producing working and presentation drawings for architectural design practices. She has lived in Rotherhithe for the last sixteen years.