An English Interior is my working title for an installation piece that relates to many aspects/manifestations of the English decorated interior, from the lost medieval devotional paintings, to 18th century scenic wallpapers; from early 20th century examples like Charleston and Burghclere, right up to Chris Ofilli’s Upper Room, the desire to create artworks that are integrated into architectural spaces stays with us.
The main scenes are taken from Dudley Watkins’ Desperate Dan comic strips and details from Hogarth engravings. I find the same delight in orchestrated mayhem in Hogarth and Watkins, they both have the ability to make the most chaotic events seem compositionally delightful. The images are rendered in a hybrid style that emphasises the compositional genius of these artists and owes much to 18th cent. wallpaper, Kalighat painting and Vorticism, among other things.
The palette comes from early wallpapers that were printed with indigo and umber to avoid the taxes on more vibrant dyestuffs. They are painted in gouache on large rolls of tea-stained paper. Following the ‘order out of chaos’ theme, the decorative borders are the result of another hybridisation, this time of English lace patterns colliding with the detritus from contemporary fly-tipping sites.