Revealing Andy Welland's 'Loose Ends' paintings
A Private Collection For WeWork, Finsbury Pavement
Loose Ends 13—14, diptych, acrylic on canvas, 500x170cm, 2018.
Loose Ends 12, acrylic on canvas, 250x160cm, 2018.
Loose Ends 15, acrylic on canvas, 250x160cm, 2018.
Loose Ends 11, acrylic on canvas, 250x160cm, 2018.
Artworks: © Andy Welland
Designs: © Andy Welland
Photos: © Jonty Wilde
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LONDON — 2 August, 2018. For immediate release.
A few moments walk from Moorgate Underground Station is the new Finsbury Pavement location of co-working superpower; WeWork. Stepping into the lobby of the 90,000 square-foot building, you’re immediately confronted with a vast five meter-wide, energetic ‘Loose Ends’ diptych painting by Andy Welland.
The four, site-specific works in this collection span three floors of the building and are eye-widening bright in colour; candy floss pinks and sun-kissed yellows are interrupted by the flow of graphic black scribbles and doodled dancing lines. This collection of graphic collages are the product of Welland’s background and career bridging the disciplines of a Fine Art education and career in graphic design while reflecting upon more profound influences and attempting to make sense of the world.
The seductive and graphic aesthetic of the works lends itself to a contemporary entry point for engaging with the paintings. Papercut-style forms are assembled, bumblebee-like black/yellow spots and lines are applied to brightly coloured off-cuts as each form is layered upon the next.
Compositions fluctuate in simplicity and complexity as works are presented through the lens of micro or macro viewpoints — The results are surprising and joyful. The sense of play is evident as a mix of influences can be traced back to formative moments in Welland’s art practice. There is a perceived simplicity; however, a more profound complexity is present. “The paintings came as a response to screenprints and collage pieces I’m making and wanting to continue the conversation of process and production concerning art and design,” Welland says. “When I started doing the canvases, it felt pivotal. You’re aware that you’re entering a lexicon of painting and it feels like a significant moment, that you’re becoming a part of something bigger than yourself and being part of a lineage that came before and after you, and that’s really exciting.”
I don’t see the relationships between design, art or handmade and machine as a tension, but more of a purposeful oscillation. It is a back-and-forth process; like a game of ping-pong between disciplines, conceptually and within the modes of production. The ideologies aren’t sparring; more like exchanging love letters and helping each other out. For example, by playing with scale, the small, minute details become important anchor points of tension and dialogue.
Cropping parts of compositions can be both reductive and expressive and amplify how we experience them.” Formal, rigid structures are contrasted by evidence of the artist’s physical and emotional involvement in the creative process: scuffs, drips, irregular wobbles, paint layers “I’m not concerned with chasing perfection, I want you to see that it is human-made.” The works are born from a design language; however, they start to deal with something more profound; the crossover of art and design as another visual language and vocabulary. “Making paintings with graphic design and cultural influences give you a real opportunity to play with the canon of what making art and design is. All while trying to make sense of the world around us.”
Artist Background: In Conversation
“For some context, before I started art school it was the dawn of the mainstream internet, and there was an optimistic, yet a vague sense of what things could be. Social media wasn’t yet a thing — You’d stumble into little digital communities, people trying to make sense of it all. Message boards existed where all kinds of people put experimental work up, create memes before memes were a thing and programmers would hack and play with web code and even break the fabric of the website. It was a wonderfully confusing, weird conceptual mess.
There was also a real mix of analogue and digital materiality around us. My housemate and I would take MP3 music files from Napster, burn them into mix CDs with hand-scribbled track listings. The discs would usually end up being passed and shared between friends or end up being used by my housemate to DJ at the local rock club. I still love the idea that something ethereal can exist, floating in space and given a physicality. During this time I would collect found gig flyers, graphic design ephemera and make collaged posters and cards for friends – a mix of figuring out Photoshop and physical cutting and pasting from the bits of ephemera I’d collect.
I’d take Polaroids and rasterise them digitally, blowing them up to massive proportions and turn them into large screenprints. The screens were awful quality and only A3 in size, so I’d collage them up, printing on found ply sheets. They didn’t quite work as they were so rough and ready, but one of my tutors suggested I paint over the top with oils using my fingers. That blew my mind a bit. The idea of painting hadn’t been relevant to practice, but when I started, it just brought everything together.”
It all ties back to an unconscious sense of remixing, re-arranging and ordering, trying to make sense of a postmodern world where everything gets remixed continuously, repurposed and the consumption of culture is reprogrammed in an age of information overload. “I started my career in London. I was exposed to the highest calibre of cultural production and design and working with amazing people. The different rhythm of the city, the vibrancy, speed, energy and mix of all these things, I wanted to soak it all in. Continually absorbing visual culture, meaning and form and putting your spin on things by composing new structures, language and vocabulary.”
About The Artist
Andy Welland (b. 1981) is a British artist living and working in the UK. He is recognised for his vibrant, graphic collage work that is both welcoming and bold with a sophisticated conceptual edge. Following a degree in Fine Arts from Sheffield Hallam in 2007, he cut his teeth in London working within the luxury division of M&C Saatchi and has also worked at various boutique design studios across the UK. As an accomplished art director, he operates a design consultancy generating commercial work such as branding, conceptual R&D and publication design alongside his art practice.