Two large wall paintings form the focus of the exhibition, each drawing on a rich array of imagery from old postcard scenes of London life across the twentieth century. At two workshops, to be held in July, the public will be invited to ‘colour-in’ these black and white murals like a paint-by-numbers kit on an enlarged scale, a process that will question the traditionally pristine and off-limits nature of the white-walled gallery space. In addition, a discussion between the artist, Sotiris Kyriacou (curator, The Gallery @ Idea Store Whitechapel), and Matthew Reeves (exhibition curator), will probe the role of public involvement in art projects and the wider context of art in the public realm (for more information visit http://www.ideastore.co.uk). A beautifully bound portfolio of ten A2 screenprints, from which the designs of the two wall paintings are taken, will be available to purchase in a limited edition of forty sets plus five artist’s proofs.
Bridgland’s practice has grown increasingly large-scale in recent years, pushing his crisp meticulousness and love of the designed emblem into interesting territory. Building on the success of a wall painting commissioned for The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2011, the manipulated and abstracted scenes included in TREASURE incorporate populist themes descriptive of a characteristically British sentimentalism. The Gallery @ Idea Store Whitechapel, with its unparalleled views over the East End skyscape, is a perfect home for the exhibition and one of the area’s busiest public spaces, attracting thousands of visitors each week.
About the artist
Adam Bridgland (b.1979, Leicester) lives and works in London. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2006, he has utilised a diverse range of materials and working methods. From printed text and image to public commissions, from enamel plaques to neon and patinated iron, Bridgland’s practice pursues an incisive and witty exploration of distinctively British sentiments, through imagery imbued with a sense of collective nostalgia and emotive gravity. Vignettes of British back-packers’ holidays, old-fashioned bus tours and childhood seaside breaks that figure strongly in his visual repertoire are often tinged with the melancholic nature of memories, and a feeling of time having passed too quickly. Twinned with this however, is an upbeat celebration of themes distilled from children’s colouring books, paint-by-numbers kits, old public transport posters and kitsch postcards, which the artist often injects with the kaleidoscopic richness of carefully chosen and thickly applied colours. Through his distinctive brand of image-making, everyday or mundane subjects are treated with the importance and status of emblems. Bridgland works in diverse locations, from traditional gallery spaces to old lifeguards’ outposts and seaside resorts. His work is housed in numerous public and private collections, including the V&A, the British Museum, the BBC, Boeing Asia, HBOS, and University College London Hospital.