Chris Pickup

Artist, Project manager, Consultant, Teacher

The work is about reality; it explores how we perceive it, experience it, understand it and ignore it. The subject matter I choose are the surfaces we see every day of our waking lives: concrete, wood, metal, peeling paint; this reality we all experience but, on a minute by minute basis, choose to ignore. These surfaces are initially sourced through photography of real surfaces in real places. As the artist, when I find a surface I wish to photograph, I experience that surface as an utter reality. However, from the point at which the shutter clicks, to the point at which you the audience experience the work, that reality is manipulated as an illusion. I will often collect a sample or artefact to try to bring you closer to the reality that I experienced, but to what extent does that fragment, isolated from its context, evoke a reality for you? Each work represents a frozen moment, a freeze frame of our mundane experience. Initially this is done with the camera. But to freeze a reality an illusion has to be created, in this case a photograph, which is subject to manipulation. To enhance the sense of reality a three dimensional work is created from the photographic material, through clay modelling, casting and paint effects, but this process manipulates the illusion further. I then provide presentations of samples or artefacts collected from the real sites. These items have undeniable reality but are out of context, like shards of pottery in an archaeological museum. They are touchstones of reality but cannot recreate it. The completed wall mounted bas relief works hang in a netherworld between painting and sculpture. Although the surface is highly sculptural their visual power is almost entirely dominated by the use of paint; this paint being sprayed, applied by brush and as a pre dried laminate. Their visual presence suggests the portrayal of reality yet through the manipulation of the motifs of wood, metal, concrete and paint and the application of a firm geometrical composition, the approach to their creation is more akin to that of abstraction. With or without the accompaniment of displayed found material, the exhibition viewer is invited into a space where the constant flow of reality is suspended and yet tiny excerpts of it are represented. Your experience of reality is made more intense through the medium of illusion. In an age where reality is televisual or virtual, how much of your reality reaches you through the medium of illusion and do you know where the boundaries are? read full statement

Location Nottingham, East Midlands
Activities Secondary education, Art historical research, Private commissions, Visual arts consultancy, Project management, Photographic documentation