Wallpaper (EMPIRE / Primitive Matters)

– 2016


EMPIRE is a subversion of a toile. Originally made in France in Jouy-en-Josas by Oberkampf and Huet in the early 18th century this household luxury design found its way on anything from textiles to teapots. Toiles were very popular during the Colonial Era and became a tool for colonial expansion,they depicted scenes that ranged from France’s alliance with America to pastoral landscapes that captured the French imagination. In this piece I have re-appropriated the pastoral scenes to reflect true empire.

Giclee on archival paper

– 2009

Primitive Matters

“Ideologies work most effectively when we are not aware that how we formulate and construct a statement about the world is underpinned by ideological premises; when our formulations seem to be simply descriptive statements about how things are (i.e. must be), or of what we can ‘take for granted’.”
Stuart Hall

In my practice I am concerned with the resonant characteristics of colonialism that continue to operate in covert, subtle ways. Wallpaper in this context is chosen for its innate qualities as a mass market, repetitive and imitative product, to question the perpetuation of this condition. Primarily used for decoration, and historically to inculcate sound morals, wallpaper in this context domesticates the white cube.