Woolff Gallery, London presents a dynamic new series of works by artist Russell West. These fascinating and complex artworks take the shape of astonishing labyrinths of paint and can take up to one year to create.
The inspiration for West’s work was initially drawn from his observations of densely populated slum neighbourhoods. West spent much of the 90’s living in the Far East where he became fascinated by Kowloon’s ‘Walled City’. This was a slum the size of 2 football pitches in which 33,000 people lived and worked in what West refers to as a ‘self-regulating man-nest’. Kowloon’s ‘Walled City’ had been built without any planning or architects involvement and as a result windows, doors, electricity cables and plumbing had been placed where needed, as opposed to where was aesthetically pleasing.
West compares this layout with a phenomenon known as a ‘desire-line’, which is where unofficial paths emerge as people choose the quickest route through a park, or cut through a flower-bed in a supermarket car-park. Through this exhibition at Woolff Gallery he is attempting to represent what he first saw in these slum neighbourhoods over 20 years ago. West uses paint to produce solid planes of colour, representing walls or signage. Once in place, the paint continues to move, dribbling downward until it dries.
“It amuses me to think that at the end of every day, after locking up my studio for the night, my paintings continue to build themselves on their own in the dark in full colour, creating their desire lines” says West.
Russell West is a pioneer, his distinctive work is completely unrivalled.
Place: Woolff Gallery, 89 charlotte St, London, W1T 4PU
Dates: 30th March – 12th May
Times: Monday to Friday 10.30-18.00 & Sat 11-17.00