The New Art Gallery Walsall / by Lucy

"How do we understand the concept of the local within an increasingly globalised context? What impact does the transformation of our local environment have on our identity and our communities?"

The New Art Gallery Walsall presents a powerful new group exhibition entitled Small Worlds, featuring large-scale paintings by Lucy McLauchlan alongside an international collection of works on the theme of the modern metropolis. Participating artists include AirSpace Gallery (Andrew Branscombe, Anna Francis, Glen Stoker), Graham Chorlton, Rita Donagh, Richard Forster, Cameron Galt, Andreas Gefeller, Naiza Khan, Stuart Layton, Lucy McLauchlan, Laura Oldfield Ford, Mark Power and Rashid Rana.

Lucy McLauchlan's ambitious new work is inspired by frequent visits to Warley Woods, a regenerated urban parkland near her home in Bearwood. Since it opened in 1906, it has witnessed many changes. Tennis courts and a family run ice cream business have now disappeared. A series of stunted beech trees were felled due to the saplings being planted too close together. Earlier studies draw on the deep scars of the saw and the fluorescent orange bruises from the sprayed markings indicating which trees were to be felled.

Having spent time studying the area, Lucy then embarked upon creating paintings in situ within the woods. Pulling a sledge to carry her paints, brushes and equipment, she has directly transferred some of the details and textures of the environment onto canvas to create the background for her subsequent drawings. Her approach is spontaneous, allowing the environment to inform and direct what is an experimental and explorative process. The drawings are then created in the gallery, evolving and emerging intuitively and in response to the accumulated marks and textures. Aside from black and white paint, found materials such as charcoal, earth and brick dust are applied, further connecting the work directly with both the natural and built environment.

Small Worlds is open from Thursday 21st May until Sunday 6th September 2015 at The New Art Gallery Walsall. Admission is free.

Still taken from the film following the progress of the works by Matthew J Watkins and Lucy McLauchlan

commissioned for The New Art Gallery's resource centre.