Canary Wharf and Canada Square immediately conjure up images of sleek glass and steel-clad surfaces for me. So in my paintings for One Canada Square, I wanted to incorporate these crisp, modernist architectural lines while infusing them with a new sense of warmth and humanity. I wanted to reimagine César Pelli’s stainless steel obelisk in fun, colourful graphic shapes.
Loosely inspired by both Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist works and Victor Vasarely's Op Art, I created two triptychs of overlapping planes of colour and fragmented cubist blocks. I didn’t want the canvases to feel like machine-made vector prints, but to allow hiccups and a little spontaneity to creep in, the aim being to create my own informal take on Suprematism.
Using a combination of acrylic and oil paints to make a variety of ‘fill effects’, the planes of colour appear as a mixture of flat graphic shapes, gradients, and as more organic-feeling textured washes.
In the larger triptych, installed in the main restaurant space, there are broad flashes of red and golden yellow to bring a sense of celebration. Upstairs in the more intimate mezzanine cocktail bar, the pieces use smaller, more playful elements in cool greys. I wanted a feeling of movement across the suite of canvases, as if someone hit ‘pause’ on a lively animation of shifting shapes and icons.