Emily Allchurch: ‘Tower of London (after Breughel)’, 2005. Transparency on lightbox 124 x 161cm
Lots has happened since I last posted anything, which I’ll write about as the weeks unfold, but one of the most exciting ones has to be that I now have a studio space – with the ASC in South London- woo-hoo! Even better, I am sharing this studio – with digital collage artist Emily Allchurch – and I love her work.
On Emily’s website, there are some fantastic series of work, including “Settings”, where over a period of 4 years, she reconstructed European Masters by taking hundreds of digital photographs across London and collaging them into a new version of the original works. Compare them here by clicking through in the lightbox:
Hints of modern life, such as graffiti, traffic cones and office blocks seep through into the ‘old master’, creating a sense of unease, and for me, also a sense of humour. I giggle when I see a pile of concrete blocks where a team of noble stonemasons were once stood and the Royal Albert Hall, scaffolding and plastic sheets atop the fabulous tower – it makes me look and look and look again; partly because I’m making comparisons with Breughel‘s original famous work (1563) and mostly because of the sheer level of glorious attention to detail in Emily’s work – these works really draw you in.
Emily’s latest series is called “Tokyo Story” and comprise of 10 beautiful images after Hiroshige (1856-58) here’s one to compare Emily’s with the original:
Emily told me she travelled to Japan and took over 6000 digital images in order to make these works – and that each work takes about a month to make. No wonder that the details – like the tin can in the river, the road signs and the discreet security camera – are so exquisite to linger over.
A recurring theme in my own work has been using materials that are commonly regarded as plain and ‘un-beautiful’, something most people will ignore and overlook, and recreating them into something with its own sense of beauty, so Emily’s use of these items we might regard as unpleasant, trashy or ugly fascinates me. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the making.
For those of you in London over the next few months, Emily’s latest show “Tokyo Story (after Hiroshige)” opens this Thursday 19th January and runs until 11th March at the Japan House Gallery, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, NW1 4QP (in the Outer Circle overlooking Regents Park).
To see more of Emily’s work, watch a BBC film about how she makes her work and for more details about her exhibitions, visit her website here.
Update March 2015
Emily was commissioned last year by Manchester City Art Gallery for her first piece in a major museum: the show Friday 13 Mar – 7 Jun 2015 includes her wonderful ‘Tokyo Story’ (after Hiroshige) series of lightboxes.