26 October 2016 by Scott Smith
Mandy Payne was selected to exhibit in this year’s John Moores Painting Prize with her painting, ‘No Ball Games Here’.
Mandy’s work is inspired by landscapes, particularly the urban and edge-land areas of Sheffield where she lives. Her painting ‘No Ball Games Here’ depicts Park Hill, the Grade II* listed Sheffield council estate and one of Britain’s largest examples of Brutalist architecture.
We caught up with her to find out more about how she works, ahead of her ‘Talk Tuesday’ event happening at the Walker Art Gallery on Tuesday 1st November…
How does it feel to be selected for the John Moores once again?
I was absolutely thrilled to be selected again. I very nearly didn’t enter because I thought the chances of being selected again were even slimmer than last time. I thought my inclusion in 2014 was a bit of a fluke, so to get in for a second time has been a real boost to my confidence.
Being a Northern artist, I particularly like the fact that the competition is held in Liverpool, providing an arena to reflect on the role of painting today to an audience outside of London.
What has changed for you as an artist since the last time you were in the John Moores?
A lot! This is a second career for me and inclusion in the JM2014 was pivotal in giving me some credibility as an artist. It also validated my decision to follow my heart and pursue something I love. It undoubtedly created opportunities that wouldn’t have arisen otherwise, such as residencies, exhibition proposals, collaborations with other JM artists and funding applications. It also brought increased interest to my website and attracted some private sales and commissions.
What inspires you?
Everything and anything but I am predominantly interested in what we miss, what we usually ignore, little things that are often under the radar, the mundane and everyday which when viewed from a different angle, or close up may take on a different nuance.
I have always loved painting. There is something about the physicality and connectivity of the process that I love. There is also a duality in the way I work which I enjoy. On the one hand, mixing concrete and using aerosol spray paint is quite physical and messy, but on the other, building up layers and working on a small, intimate scale with oil paint, trying to achieve subtle details, is quite meditative. In a world of accelerated images I have always found that painting, or drawing for that matter, gives me space for contemplation and takes me to another place.
What do you hope visitors will take away from your work in the John Moores? Do you hope for a certain reaction?
This is a difficult question. People will respond to the work individually and I don’t want to be prescriptive. However, I hope that they will react to the materiality of the piece, the fact that I have chosen to work with materials that have a physical connection to the subject, a Brutalist housing estate. My subject matter is at odds with the traditional ideas of British Landscape, it is not pastoral and it is not pretty. The work was not intended to disrupt this engrained view but rather to paint what is there, to celebrate an iconic building and to explore the transitory nature of the inner city landscape and urban communities.
Find out more about Mandy at her Talk Tuesday event on the 1st November at the Walker Art Gallery. On the day Mandy will also be joined by the Modernist Society who will be on site to talk about the work they do.
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