Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cut and paste

Maine-Montparnasse, 2012.  Every window and concrete strip cut from paper.

Pavilion, 2012,inspired by the 1958 Brussels World Exposition.  

Villa Moller, 2011

Flip through the pages and you'll think that Lucy Williams creates very flat, graphic paintings of modernist architecture but look closer especially at the edges and you'll see small pieces sticking out of the sides of the picture. The 'paintings' are in fact remarkably precise three dimensional collages made from craft materials: paper and card (obviously) balsa wood; wire; hardboard; colored plastic sheets; wool; cotton and other fabrics. I thought it interesting that these sort of soft materials are used to create hard edge works of art.

The ten chapters reflect a variety of modern buildings stretching back over several decades. Chapter eight on 'The architect's house' has twelve beautiful creations including a stunning Villa Moller designed by Adolf Loos in 1928. The Williams version is true to the original down to the wire mesh fencing and two trees which have been cut from colored paper including individual leaves. This mixed media on board picture is twenty-one by eighteen inches.

Many of the images feature buildings fully frontal but others show an uncannily accurate perspective, pages seventy-six and seven show Pavilion from 2010 based on an exhibit at the 1958 Brussels World Exposition. The work is semi profile and has some water in front of it and this reflects some of the colorful aspects of the structure but with obviously reduced colour. A tour de force is an accurate section of Maine-Montparnasse in Paris designed by Jean Dubuisson, the collage is front-on and just over 106 inches wide with every colorful window (I estimate over a thousand) and concrete strips.

The book has seventy-four works by Lucy Williams. Laura McLean-Ferris introduces the work with a short essay. Missing, I thought, were a few photos of the artist at work, showing how she creates these amazing images. The publisher's website has a very brief video clip of this, well worth a look.

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