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UAL Research Online

Where Happiness Happens

Evans, Geraint (2001) Where Happiness Happens. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Evans, Geraint

The exhibition, 'Where Happiness Happens' was the outcome of 12 months’ research exploring the relationship between aspiration and the suburbs. It depicted the suburbs as a social and cultural hybrid, reinforced within the house by the nuances and idiosyncrasies of decoration and material culture. These idiosyncrasies were described in the work by small moments of aspirational creativity: men construct model railways or customize low spec cars. It questions suburbia’s status as a landscape of conformity and compromise, and proposes the notion that diversity and enterprise positively thrive in the British suburbs.

This work references the depiction of British suburban aspiration, failure and compromise through television comedy. Evans sought to question the use and viability of the suburban caricature through a painterly visual narrative, mindful of contemporary problematic stereotypes. Using photographic documentation to inform the development of the paintings, Evans presented a form of constructed reality through the investigation of the properties of acrylic paint and to establish a convincing schematic visual depiction.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Geraint Evans Research Statement:

It is the perception of landscape as something both familiar and exotic, a construction of memory and fantasy, a harbinger of myth and history and a sum of images both false and superficial (WJT Mitchell 1994: 263) that has informed my recent practice which encompasses narrative driven paintings and drawings. The writer Lisa le Favre has argued that the "idea of what landscape should be is bound up with the ways in which it is represented back to us through culture, be it painting, photography, film, literature or television", bound up in architypes and conventions (le Fauvre 2000: 89).

In his introduction to 'Landscape and Memory' Simon Schama writes that the 'wilderness was as much the product of culture's craving and culture's framing as any other imagined garden. 'Referencing Yosemite National park he observes how, despite the snack bars and car parks that service the visitor, we still imaging the landscape as the depopulated wilderness depicted by the photographs of Watkins and Adams and the paintings of Bierstadt and Moran. He continues:

The very act of identifying (not to mention photographing) the place presupposes our presence, and along with us all the heavy cultural backpacks that we lug with us on the trail.' (Schama 1995: 7)

Tourism encourages the pursuit of the 'authentic' experience and often promises an encounter with the 'natural' landscape. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio write: "often a sight must struggle to resemble its expected image.the postcard [for example] has become the fixed referent after which the mutable sight models itself. "(Diller and Scofidio 2005: 103)

Within the city, daily encounters with nature take the guise of domestic gardens or the man made approximations of natural landscapes in high streets and shopping malls, where fig trees, fibreglass crags, pebbles and bark chippings form a now familiar hybridized landscape, with marble, glass and stainless steel.

Whilst writing about the work of Dan Holdsworth, Angus Carlyle used the term 'synthetic nature' to describe the contemporary urban and suburban landscape, where 4x4's (named 'Voyager', 'Explorer' and 'Range Rover') guided by GPS systems and driven by well prepared individuals in techno-fibre clothing, roam no further than the out of town shopping mall, which after all might be suggestively named Lakeside or Bluewater. (Carlyle 2000: 7-11)

My practice aims to utilize painterly narrative fiction to further understand our relationship with nature, how we might attempt to shape or simulate landscape in order to form something idealistically 'natural', framed within an urban or suburban context.

Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 8 December 2001
Funders: Woo Charitable Foundation
Related Websites: http://www.wimbledon.arts.ac.uk/35279.htm
Related Websites:
Event Location: Chapter, Cardiff; The Glyn Vivian, Swansea
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Chapter, Cardiff, Wales.20012002
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales.20012002
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2009 19:29
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2010 09:47
Item ID: 1790
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1790

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