Edward Chell - Untitled Object I (Sky Tip, St Austell)

Painted euro transport pallet, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Edward Chell - Untitled Floor Pieces

Projection based on Willow Pattern – two euro pallets, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Edward Chell - Untitled Floor Pieces (detail)

Projection based on Willow Pattern – two euro pallets, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Edward Chell - Untitled Object I (Sky Tip, St Austell)

Painted euro transport pallet, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Pallet Floor Pieces

Willow Projection

Acrylic, lacquer on gesso on 1/4 size Euro palette, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

These large floor-based works are based on the generic and universally used Euro palette, a ubiquitous sign of global trade; the wooden structure is now so widely used and abused that it has become invisible and almost totally worthless. In reaction to this, Edward Chell has worked directly on their surface, adorning and glazing it with motifs borrowed from another widely disseminated and common trope, the Willow pattern. While early Willow china was reserved for very wealthy European collectors, the nineteenth century Willow Pattern china was mass produced and widely appropriated by the rising middle class. We have become so accustomed to this blue and white pattern that we have forgotten its origin: the ancient tragic story of the lovebirds.

 

Spode: Tip: Palette (Sky Tip, St Austell)

Acrylic, lacquer, gesso on 1/8 Euro Palette, 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Edward Chell has composed smaller pallet works in the same series, taking further the idea of adding value on the surface of the ubiquitous wooden structures. He has introduced a set of images in oval frames that are reminiscent of the Claude Glass, a viewing tool used by C18 landscape lovers and gran. Instead of grand vistas, they depict vast dumps and waste heaps, one of which is the large spoil mountain of porcelain clay mining near St Austell, Cornwall known as ‘Sky Tip’ or ‘The Cornish Alps’. Both the heaps and the closures speak of surplus and deficit, overproduction and overtrading. Referring further to the wide dissemination to the middle classes of blue and white china, Chell has used Spode Willow motifs around the edges and corners.

Edward Chell

Edward Chell’s practice is rooted in painting but he works across media, making combinations of objects and text and exploring the site-specific. He is interested in conflicting storylines within the spatial environment, aiming to capture the collisions between the values and meanings we bring to our experiences of place, with a particular focus on borders and peripheral places that present a form of ‘Terrain Vague’ (meaning abandoned areas; obsolete, unproductive spaces and buildings).

Chell’s recent solo exhibition ‘Bloom’ at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, (2015) explored the sometimes uneasy relationships between taste, material and environmental exploitation and display, using the museum's plant collections framed by the visual tropes of blue and white porcelain.

Edward Chell is an artist based in London and Reader in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury. He has a BA in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art.

He is represented by Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf, Germany.

www.edwardchell.com