Study of the Painted Chamber Nos. 1-4

Renton, Lucy [Artist] (2018) Study of the Painted Chamber Nos. 1-4. (Four small card, photographic collage, and gouache works).


Contributions by Lucy Renton to the three person show "Inside, Inside/Outside" by artists Lucy Renton, Anna Fairchild and Mikey B Georgeson. The four works by Lucy Renton in this exhibition are placed on the windowsills of the Painted Chamber at Eastbury Manor, Barking, a well-preserved but largely unfurnished Jacobean Manor house, surrounded on all sides by early 20th century housing. The room is named after the remaining fragments of 16th century fresco that once covered all the walls, representing an idealised river Thames view (a view now obscured by urban development) beyond painted trompe l’oeil columns and panelling. In addition to two contemporaneous antique oak benches, the room contains a recent architectural display model with a digitally printed reconstruction simulating the historic panels in situ. The works on the window sills therefore aim to speak to both the real room with its fake views, and the reimagined model sitting within it, a room within a room. The internal decoration points to a romantic vision outside that is not matched by the contemporary built environment that was once a utopian vision of a garden suburb to house those removed during slum clearances in the East End of London. The Becontree estate, constructed between 1921 and 1935, was at the time the largest housing estate in the world, comprising 9,000 houses on the site of former market gardens that were compulsorily purchased by the council. The original design has now been disrupted by the interventions of individual alterations to the facades representing the tastes and budgets of waves of new residents. The series of artworks respond sculpturally through flat layering to the painted illusionistic theatrical depth of the original frescoes, and progresses through a literal construction of illusion into an abstracted study of space and light. The four small works are made from black card, mirri card, collaged photographic images from World of Interiors magazines, and gouache. Three of the works have slotted hardwood bases, the last is mounted on foam core board. A further work "Manorist' was also developed from this fresco source and exhibited as part of East London Artists exhibition 2018.

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