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ART FOR ART’S SAKE ……. and for Barbican residents

For the past six years, Trevor Wood has taught an Exploring Drawing course at the Community Education Centre in Golden Lane to many Barbican residents.


revor is a Fine Artist. He was born and brought up in Scotland and trained in drawing and painting at Gray’s School of Art in

Aberdeen. For him, drawing is a key component of Fine Art and Architecture and determinant of the aesthetic experience. When Trevor moved to London, he was attracted to the ‘wilderness’ which the banks of the river Lea, especially in the lower Lea Valley, offered in the midst of the capital from both an escapist and artistic perspective. From photographs, films, sketches and experiences of the changes in the landscape, he has produced artwork (drawing, painting, mixed media and digital) from his Space studio in London Fields, Hackney, only a short walk from the river Lea. The lower Lea Valley was a significant focus of his MA Art in Architecture at the University of East London and has continued to be an important feature of his exhibited work, for example ‘Making Sense of Change’ at the View Tube (overlooking the Olympic Stadium)1.

Urban and Natural Wilderness The subject matter of Trevor’s work is wilderness - urban or natural. Themes and common factors of interest in both are natural phenomena, man’s intervention, decay and renewal. His source imagery, derived from observation and memory, is worked, modified and distilled into the work surfaces through motifs and designs which harmonise or jar with the surface to stir the memory of the viewer and evoke the air of familiarity.

1The Greenway, Marshgate Lane, Stratford, E15 commissioned by the Leaside Regeneration Partnership, July 2010.

Industrial landscape painting by Trevor Wood

Landscapes, natural or manmade are susceptible to change by natural events or human intervention – they are both subject and object and part of an ongoing narrative to achieve economic, political, social and environmental sustainability by individuals and community groups, policy makers and local authorities, farmers and ecologists, financiers and industrialists. Trevor’s post-industrial urban landscapes are imbued with an essence of the socio/political - the movement of communities and other social changes are seen as metaphor in the decay of the facades and structures of the buildings - ephemeral and vulnerable to change

but, stripped back down to basic simplicity and starkness - natural serenity in the chaos. These urban landscapes are in contrast to the traditional images of wilderness – the natural environment and wide-open spaces. However, both focus on desolation and decay - the epitome of the end of a cycle, the beginning of regeneration and a new phase. Hence, Trevor’s fascination with the river Lea and the lower Lea Valley.

The River Lea and Lower Lea Valley

The river Lea is 46 miles long – it flows from Luton in Bedfordshire to Blackwall in London, where it joins the river Thames. From its origins


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