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Yellow Door Yellow Storm - Canary Wharf

Work by Malcolm Ross-White

Exhibition preview

CANARY Wharf Group launched this year’s public art exhibition programme with a new series of painted porcelain plates by Malcolm Ross-White, displayed in the lobby of One Canada Square.

Yellow Door Yellow Storm, works from his Chinese Studio, is on display until March 11, 2011.

Ross-White, who trained as a painter, has drawn inspiration from his extended visits over the past seven years to Jingdezhen in China, the centre for porcelain production since the 16th century.

The plates, some measuring a metre in diameter, are illustrated with the artist’s observations of the colourful life in this vibrant and historic city. They include his versions of Chinese myths and legends, as well as the artist’s own experiences.

Some of the images are painted, while others are produced from transfers and collaged elements; some are even derived from digital drawings made on his Ross-White’s iPad.

Influenced by the Chinese passion for text messaging, Ross-White developed a similar economy of language in his work. A text sometimes sparked an idea for a composition, as in Night of the Yellow Storm (I love my fan) 2010, which arose following a message from a friend warning about an impending storm graded level ‘yellow’ in severity.

Ross-White’s lively descriptions of his time in China emphasise the importance of everyday experiences in his choice of imagery. He also writes of his inspirational visits and the everyday experiences that inspired him from the very moment he encountered his studio in Jingdezhen in July 2010.

“Excitement mounted as I walked through the yellow door into my studio… Inside the space is bare; my eye is drawn to the very dusty concrete floor and along one wall a typical Chinese shelf, maze-like, stands on the floor. Two strong wooden work tables stand each side of the yellow back door through which I see a small yard and a large tree giving much needed shade.

“A small ceramic Buddha sits in the dappled light. Chickens cluck and cocks crow in the next workshop yard….Through the ill-fitting window is the pomegranate tree, the fruits of which I watch grow and ripen during the following summer months.… Now I start to occupy the studio, and with my back to the window I see a small back room filled with a bed, so good for that afternoon sleep.

The first drawing, that is always for me the starting point: the soft absorbent Chinese paper sucks the paint beautifully; the subjects are all around: ordinary objects and visiting people. Food has been a major source of inspiration: net bags heaving with frogs, basins with turtles, piles of spicy chillies!”

And Curator Ann Elliott says: “The street life, a secondhand bookshop, the food, endless places to eat, markets, the business of many ceramics factories, new friends and neighbours – the list goes on – all have a role in Malcolm Ross-White’s imagery.”

He cites things like farmyard animals, trees and desks in his studio as inspirations for the work.

The public are invited to join the artist and exhibition curator Ann Elliott in conversation on Tuesday, February 8 at 1.15pm in the Lobby of One Canada Square. Please call 020 7418 2257 to book a place.

Admission: Free.

Lobby, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB