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City In Flux

Martin Hearne, John Kelly and John O'Connor have contributed to the City in flux section. Here you can read a description of their work on the subject and see a sample image from their collections. Click on the image to view a pop-up gallery of the rest of the images.

Martin Hearne

Most if not all my work is constructed around stories that are based on everyday life. My aim is to try and find a way of combining these personal narratives and interests with qualities that are more general and universal so that the universal can be used to talk about matters of fact and visa versa. Much of the visual language used to do this comes from instruction manual diagrams and the banal world of the international graphic symbol. It’s a way of representing the world with a system based on pictograms (that are supposed to speak for themselves) and diagrams (that are tools of explanation). I use this graphic system, a system based on the stereotypical, as a visual dictionary that can provide me with a repertoire of designs in much the same way as mediaeval artists used their pattern books, the Man and Woman of the toilet door sign for instance often act as central characters in the works. Sometimes this is in 3-D form and sometimes as printed signs that can be read as a sort of ‘everyman’ figure. In any method based on the stereotypical there is an inherent contradiction in our understanding, as compared to the stereotype the specific is always wrong. My recent work uses these contradictions of signs and contradictions of form to construct a world within the ceramic relief. The themes of everyday life are told through stereotyped figures but all is not what it seems, there are many contradictions as in ‘Snakes and Ladders’ where a life, a family is depicted in sweet syrupy colours and banal composition but where the ladder (ambition) is also wriggling like a snake (the fall) or the car (a symbol of freedom) is going nowhere as it’s stuck in a jam.

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John Kelly

Most of my work is influenced in some shape or form by the City. Most weekends I can be found collecting visual data from my surroundings. I tend to fuse photography with found items from the area that I am documenting. The work above is a fusion of digital photography, found items and the photocopier. I find this technique useful for emphasising the fragmented nature of the Cityscape. The work emphasises what is at the edge of our vision and the way we half-remember moments we have experience and the way the degenerate over time to become fragments of memory and feeling.

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John O'Conner

The City means something different to each and every individual who interacts with it. Everyone has their reasons for being there, be it work, study, recreation, etc. Our existing assumptions and preconceptions add to the unique way in which we as individuals see the City. My approach is to investigate and research my own personal experience and perception of Bradford as a City and how the City represents itself to me. Primary visual sources come from the recording of the City centre through photographs and sketches, along with found artifacts and ephemer. I also use a series of lists, jotting down journeys taken, noting road signs and places that catch my attention. The use of postal ephemera in the work reflects my communication with Bradford, along with the visual recording of of passing through the City, as represented by ink cancellation marks placed on stamps.

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