LOOKING BACK | MOVING FORWARD
a research and development project by artist Jenny Steele
During 2015, I will undertake a period of research visiting existing examples of 1930s Seaside Moderne architecture in North West England and Scotland, and existing examples of interior design related to this architecture from the 1930s.
Seaside Moderne architecture is a style of modernist architecture built in the 1930s between World War I and World War II, during the mid war leisure boom. During the 1930s, everyday workers were newly allocated annual holidays in the United Kingdom, and used these to travel to the seaside to enjoy themselves away from everyday work toils. Palaces of fun, such as the Blackpool Casino and The Midland Hotel were built to house these swathes of people, offering a glamourous and stylish place to relax and enjoy themselves beside the sea.
Seaside Moderne architecture is the shoreline counterpart of ‘Streamline Moderne’ or ‘Art Moderne’ architecture that references the curved design of ocean liners, with long horizontal lines and nautical details. This style of architecture, although retaining many of the characteristics of Art Deco, also fought against its more decorative, excessive and floral elements; seeking to represent an understanding of mid war austerity. Moderne was practiced internationally, mainly within Europe, USA, Australia and Commonwealth countries, and the design style was also adopted into industrial design such as car design, particularly in the United States.
During my research, I will also undertake archival research at the RIBA Archive, Victoria and Albert Museum’s Drawing Archive and the Whitworth Art Gallery’s Textile and Wallpaper Collection.
Within the RIBA archive, I will be investigating drawings, and documents relating to design of The Midland Hotel, Morecambe. At the Victoria and Albert Textile archive, I will research examples of textiles by Marion Dorn, who designed carpets and interior details for The Midland Hotel, as well as Eileen Hunter another successful female interior designer within the 1930s who furnished interiors of Art Moderne architecture. At the Whitworth Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, I will be looking at examples of 1930s interior design from the influential textile designers Otti Berger and Gunta Stolzl of the Bauhaus (Germany), and UK based designers, Marian Mahler and Lucienne Day. For more information, please read visit the archival research page.
From this visual research, I will create a series of new drawing, print and sculptural based works. In May 2015, a series of preliminary drawings were exhibited at the solo exhibition The Fair at Glasgow Open House Art Festival. In March 2016, there will be a test bed exhibition of work at In Certain Places Project Space, Preston. In July 2016, I will present a solo exhibition at The Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, with an accompanying symposium on Seaside Moderne.
I am a Scottish artist based in Manchester, UK. My work is motivated by architecture that suggests a utopic hope for the future, corresponding histories and ideas of place, using the processes of drawing, printmaking and sculpture in my work. Past projects have investigated modernist, post-colonial and post-industrial architectural sites. For more information please visit my website.
If you would like more information on the project, to collaborate or be involved, please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
LOOKING BACK|MOVING FORWARD is kindly supported by Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England, University of Central Lancashire and Blackpool Council.