Eve Sullivan uses the work of the English furniture designer and political utopianist William Morris as source material for her installation-based painting practice. In this exhibition she takes up the theme of the 'Wallflower', and translates the delicate orderliness of his design into an expansive wall painting. It is both a celebration of the handmade, expressive gesture and a form of homage to William Morris's vision of a simple and beautiful world in which art or 'work-pleasure' is demanded, practised and enjoyed by all, and whose failed project of emancipation is remembered through his remarkable gift for pattern design based on natural forms.
Justin Trendall creates images that fuse pattern and word diagrams with visionary architecture. Resembling intricate text maps in some pieces and, in others, plans for neo-classical monuments, his work attempts to give cultural histories a visual form. Printed and painted on fabric and cardboard, they function both as pieces of theoretical writing and as decorative objects. In one body of images, web-like formations of names descend from the top of the picture plane, floating across the fabric’s colour field as if suspended in space. In other works he stacks the names, one on top of another, to form small monuments whose facades fill the entire picture frame.
In this exhibition the cultural histories addressed relate to the domestic design and utopian politics of the period 18501950. Using William Morris as a reference point they explore the difference between material designs for living and the shelter offered up for inhabitation by the more speculative visions of modernity.