Links and Blaes
Developed for PS Mirabel, Manchester (May to June 2019), Links and Blaes was an exhibition of new visual work responding to a personal attachment to the form, colour and aesthetic of the chain link fences and red blaes football pitches of my youth.
‘Links and Blaes’ is an exhibition which continues practice-based research into the painting of surface textures and patterns relating to everyday spatial experiences. As within previous bodies of work, the chain link fence appears as a motif, with its woven, regular and repetitive forms being considered through painting processes. For PS Mirabel, a personal element has been introduced, calling back to the childhood daily routine of scaling a chain link fence to reach the local football pitch as quickly as possible after school had finished for the day. Made from colliery spoil, the red shale football pitch (the shale or ash is commonly known as ‘blaes’ in Scotland) was the centre of the sporting and social world for a young boy in a village, just north of Glasgow in the 1990s. The pitch itself, with its characteristic colour, was a shared space, set apart and protected from everything else in the surrounding environment by its chain link border, and in a certain way, ‘Links and Blaes’ is a reflection of this relationship.