London-based graphic artist, Zanny Mellor is currently presenting her first solo exhibition “On Your Marks” at the Neville Johnson’s London showroom. As London awaits the games, her new series of works focuses on the architecture and graphic language of the Olympic venues.
Mellor deconstructs and decodes the Olympic stadium, the Velodrome, the Aquatics centre and the Orbit in order to depict in her canvases, their dynamism and capture the energy of the athletes who will compete in them. It is rare for paintings that are so technically flawless to transmit such strong expression but Zanny Mellor’s work is exquisitely detailed and it screams of energy, movement and dynamism.
The solo show provides a fresh perspective on Mellor’s frenetic architectural compositions and a development in style from her London Olympic Build III (2010), which was showcased at The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 2011.
I have had the privilege to meet Zanny Mellor in person last week at her studio, where we had a very interesting conversation about her impressive work. The first thing I noted when I looked closely at her work was that it was all hand drawn to perfection. In fact she told me that painting the Orbit elements was so exhausting and involved such intricate masking and detailing that she had to strap her hand and have physiotherapy!
There are distinct architectural influences in Mellor’s work so when I asked her where did her interest in architecture come from she explained that what brought her to architecture was the fact that she was “always interested in trying to document movement, through various artistic means and infusing that with a fascination with maps and geography”. In fact it is not only the visible that she is interested in documenting but she also wants to “visualize what we can’t see such as the constant movement of the London underground trains.”
When I told Zanny that what I find very interesting about her work is that her paintings have an intense sense of movement and colours but at the same time they have a lot of very static elements and symbols of architectural drawings she agreed that a way to describe her work would be that her paintings are like “architectural drawings on acid! They can be quite psychedelic sometimes.”
Another interesting detail that I picked up when I was in her studio is that she paints her canvases on an architectural drafting table. The image of a canvas on a drafting table is ideal to describe Zanny Mellor’s style. She’s an “architectural painter” to look out for…
Exhibition dates: July 20th to August 11th
Neville Johnson, 3 Wigmore St, London, W1U IAD
Neville Johnson showroom hours are 10am – 6pm Mon -Sat
For an appointment to view the exhibition with the artist please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find more about Zanny Mellor’s work you can visit her website: www.zannymellor.com