artist / participant
Corporate identity, commerce and its effect on daily life are a constant theme throughout Martin Westwood's work. Customers populate business workspaces, and company professionals engage in moments of transaction and restrained interaction. Westwood sources his imagery from stock photography catalogues, which depict modern business in the idealised way it would like to present itself. This is a carefully measured environment in which human figures express only such well-ordered emotions as fit within their systematised surroundings. These figures and their gestures are pivotal to Westwood's work, and often underline the uneasy relationship between personal freedom and systems of societal control and structure.
Slick business brochures, industry magazines and ordinary mass produced objects from the company environment provide Westwood with the raw materials for his complex and multi-layered work. Westwood's remodelling of the corporate aesthetic generates visually compelling elements that subtly undermine the order and uniformity of their origin and open up a sense of escapism and romance.
Westwood's exhibition at The Approach is made up of five large wall works. A diptych of a landscape of skyscrapers is punctuated by blowing leaves cast in lead - a motif that occurs regularly in Westwood's work- that acts both as a corporate logo, as well as a symbol of freedom being blown by the disordering power of the wind. The liberating force of nature and its contrast to man-made constraint is evoked throughout; two glass and upholstered table sculptures encase printed faces on pieces of stationary that resemble shingle on a beach or riverbed. The three sieve-like barrel sculptures also appear to have collected this debris, while receipt pegs and gold cocktail sticks are used as devices to pin down or contain the human spirit within the corporate structure.
Martin Westwood lives and works in London. Recent solo shows include 'Art Statements', Art 37 Basel (2006); 'Art Now', Tate Britain (2005); 'Angelus Novus', Collective Gallery Edinburgh (2004) and 'Hard Pressed Flowers', The Approach (2003). Recent group shows include 'CUT', The Approach (2005); 'Reflections', Artuaca Kunsterfgoed, Belgium (2004); 'Concert in the Egg', The Ship, London (2004) and 'Dirty Pictures', The Approach (2003).
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