'Bloomsbury Square WC1 1989', Martin Maloney

Vinyl collage on plasticated canvas, 168 x 310 cm

Martin Maloney was born in London in 1961. He studied at the University of Sussex 1980-83, Central St. Martins School of Art 1988-91 and Goldsmiths' College 1991-93. His first exhibition was 'Sex Shop' 00 Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. During the 1990s he held one-person exhibitions in London, Milan and Cologne and his group exhibitions included 'Die Yuppie Scum' Karsten Schubert Gallery London 1996, ‘Sensation’ Royal Academy 1997 and 'Neurotic Realism' Saatchi Gallery 1999. His most recent one-person exhibitions were at Anthony d'Offay Gallery London 2000 and 'Pastoral Painting' Delfina Project Space London 2001.

"This is a painting of a group of people having a lunch-time break in a London square. It is a collage made from sign-makers' vinyl. The figures were randomly taken from photographs and then projected onto the canvas and arranged to form the composition. The characters and colour relationships come from intuition, invention and my imagination. I stuck down one colour and then responded to that by adding another, to create subtle tonal variation or a clash of complementaries. I wanted to make a painting that is both a believable representation of a real life scene and that reconsiders abstraction’s decoration and patterns. I try in the characters to make figures that are clear types but have an individual psychology. Sometimes when I have invented a character someone I know stares back at me; at other times it is a composite of several people.

Over the last eighteen months I have reconsidered my relationship with expressive and gestural painting. I have used a material that has forced me to be more hard-edged and graphic than my handling of oil paint would allow. It still allows me to make it up as I go along, but it lacks the seductive appeal and the surface attractiveness of oil.

I have tackled different subjects in my work as I have been interested in finding the modern-day equivalent of art historical genres and conventions. This painting comes from a series called 'Pastoral Painting' which are my re-workings of idealized French eighteenth-century pastoral pictures, of people significantly doing nothing. Changing the rural setting for the urban, I reduced the landscape to a few branches of magnolia tree and enlarged the space given over to the figures to depict simple pleasures undercut with the melancholy of ordinary people and unremarkable events."