Eleven new artist commissions are coming to Middlesbrough, focusing on a range of subjects including our town’s landmarks, history, and culture.
The project has been delivered by Navigator North – a local artist-led organisation – in partnership with Middlesbrough Council, using Arts Council funding.
Endless Convenience is a series of sculptures inspired by shapes and forms found in throwaway plastic lunch containers.
The column shapes are created from casts taken from supermarket convenience food packaging. Stacked on top of each other, the individual pieces create columns of various sizes and shapes. The components of each column have been cast using recycled rubber crumb (recycled car tyres) and recycled glass granules.
The concept is intended as a comment on society’s reliance on convenience food in plastic packaging, and how food on the go in our throwaway culture creates endless plastic waste. It’s hoped that this sculptural intervention will make people think about the plastic waste they’re creating before they grab their next convenience lunch, and also highlight society’s reliance on single-use plastics.
The sculptures reference the work of 20th Century artist Constantin Brancusi who created the Endless Column as part of his Sculptural Ensemble at Târgu Jiu. They also refer to industrial mass production, repetitive mould making, and casting, something which Teesside is famous for through its iron and steel heritage, foundries, and steel mills.
As part of the project, Andrew worked with Year 5 children from Lingfield Primary School in Marton, who created their own smaller plaster versions of the Endless Convenience sculptures using plastic containers they had collected.
About the artist
Andrew McKeown has completed many art commissions throughout the UK and internationally for local councils, property developers, and environmental organisations. Recurring themes within his work are those of growth, change, and renewal, reflecting life, ecology, health, regeneration, and industry.
Broadcasting House Reimagined
Broadcasting House Reimagined is a painting which responds to the architecture of the Middlesbrough building, Broadcasting House. The painting reflects the actual outline of the building, then by using vibrant colour combinations and patterns, the artist has reimagined the exterior to signify the building’s uniqueness and beauty.
Broadcasting House was purpose-built for the then-BBC Radio Cleveland (now BBC Tees) in 1974. BBC Tees still broadcasts from the building today. Since 2009, the artist’s studio has been located close by, giving her an opportunity to examine and explore the exterior space within her paintings.
Car Park Stairway
Car Park Stairway is a painting that references the external concrete stairway that leads to the Cleveland Centre rooftop car park in Middlesbrough. The painting’s strong composition mirrors the actual structure of the stairway, and the artist has then added a selection of bold colours and patterns to create a dynamic image. The Cleveland Centre was built in 1971 and is Middlesbrough’s largest shopping centre. The artist became familiar with the stairway when passing the structure regularly on her way to and from her studio whilst studying and working on various projects at Teesside University. Similar concrete stairways are a frequent architectural feature in brutalist buildings seen in many towns and cities.
About the artist
Middlesbrough-based artist Emma Bennett produces bold minimalist paintings which reflect the design of Modernist and post-war architecture. By using colour and pattern in conjunction with her personal connections to place, she examines our localised social histories.
Many of her paintings reference a nostalgic attachment to places and structures that are often overlooked, neglected, or under threat of demolition. While growing up on a post-war council estate in the northern town of Redcar, Emma developed an attraction to the materials and surroundings of her environment. Many of the modernist and post-war buildings from her childhood have since been demolished and others are in the process of vanishing. Her work declares the architectural beauty and social importance of these places, buildings that are part of our collective memory. She uses photography as a key part of her process, which develops through a set of decisions about the relationships between colour and form.
‘In Loving Memory’ is a series of engraved brass plaques by artist Oliver Bragg, fixed onto benches throughout Middlesbrough’s Albert Park.
The plaques have been inspired by tales of local legends and anecdotes, and fabricated to mimic those that often adorn benches to memorialise or pay homage to a specific person. Some are optimistic for a better future, others long for a forgotten past. Some are more fantastical, and others are more direct and perturbing or prescient. Many rely on humour as a way of communicating an idea, and the project focuses on the everyman, the natural environment, and memories to place and memory itself.
About the artist
Oliver Bragg’s multimedia practice encompasses an array of forms, design, and sculpture, as well as lecture and performance. He maps an askew view of the world that teeters between the banal and fantastic, reality and fiction and the natural and manmade. Bragg has exhibited throughout the UK and internationally. He was awarded the ARTE/Cutlog Prize, France in 2012 for the originality and pertinence of work, evolution potential, and the coherence of creation.
He studied at Wimbledon College of Art and took part in the major travel and exhibitions residency Holiday organised by Gasworks (London), Triangle France (Marseille), and CAC (Vilnius).
Ice Cream is a playful, multi-sensory interactive artwork which allows people to enjoy the nostalgia of summer holidays, the seaside, and sun, with a magical soundscape.
Using the existing street furniture, ice cream flows from the street light pole, before flooding the pavement with a giant multi-colored puddle of ice cream, dusted with star sprinkles. What happens when you stand on a star?
About the artist
Over the last decade Anna Crane has built internationally recognised Jäger Studio. Trained in 3D environmental design and commerce, she merges creative expression with a proven track record to communicate with her audience. She specialises in sensory art and uses the public realm as her ‘canvas’. Crane’s artwork is intelligent, multi-sensory, and entertaining. She draws from pop culture; movies, TV, fantasy, sci-fi, and animation. for inspiration, and collaborates with skilled artisans and engineers to turn fiction into reality.
Boro Through Time explores Middlesbrough’s rich culture and heritage, using designs inspired by Victorian matchboxes. Themes illustrated include the match boxes of Erimus (remembering the motto of the town), Orange Pip Market (community), The Bathhouses (Victorian luxury), Football (Middlesbrough FC), and of course the toy shop that everyone remembers.
The works draw on collective nostalgic memories to celebrate what makes the town shine.
About the artist
Sofia Barton is a Punjabi multidisciplinary artist from Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work is influenced by the history of place and vintage packaging, in particular retro postcards, railway posters, and Victorian matchboxes. Merging these with more contemporary imagery allows Sofia to reflect on a more modern society.