Photography of urban scenes draws me. I am attracted by its realism, its resonance
with everyday life in all its shades. When I see a photograph of a rundown shop
or a derelict building, it sets off a chorus of emotion in me; sadness, recognition,
familiarity, nostalgia, mystery, danger even. However I need to be able to engage
with the photograph and this is why I use a technique I describe as “photofusionism.”
In photofusionism, I use the photograph as a starting point, the core of reality
that cannot be changed. I am fascinated by the borders of reality, the point at
which it blurs into perception. For me the work really starts to come alive at the
edges of the photograph. I seek to fuse the painting and photograph in nearly every
work I do, in order to create unity of reality and perception.
When I choose my scenes, I look for an underlying sense of nostalgia. On a deep
level, I identify with my buildings; their loneliness (I never paint people in my
urban work), the feeling of gradual decay and ageing, their world weariness, their
emptiness and sadness but also their solidity, their resilience and timelessness.
I see great beauty in urban scenes; the glory of red brick Victoriana, the solid
ochre and limestone colour of stone, the corrugated iron and rusting metal of windows.
I love the peeling plaster work of stucco and the black, inky texture of hot tar.
My works tend to focus on places of great personal significance to me. For instance
many of my photofusionist works depict Yorkshire. As a young child I remember the
thrill of visiting Hull with its endless streets of tatty Victorian terraces, many
of them already condemned and empty. I also remember the joy of York’s medieval
buildings and the promise of cakes and toys.
In London, I constantly return to Maison Berteux, an old fashioned Soho cake shop
with striking stucco that makes me want to paint it again and again. Other favourites
are Edinburgh and Glasgow and London’s Brick Lane, all with their fair share of
I very often add collage to my photofusionist works as I find this makes the work
really come alive. I choose collage materials from lost decades, the 50s, 60’s and
70’s. This material connects me to the building and gives the work a soul. The cheery
idealism of advertising draws me and cheers me, softening the sharpness of time
lost with its eternal simplicity.
Andrew Reid Wildman's art gallery