Markets & Trinkets

In 1983 Clough moved from Moore Park Road to a new studio in Sherbrook Road about a mile away. Close by, the North End Road market, filled with traders six days a week, proved to be a visual source bank and a place of endless delight. The open stalls and shops piled high with all sorts of fancy goods and cheap, garish plastic wares provided her with plenty of inspiration. She took many ‘source photographs’ of the mops, washing up bowls, clotheshorses and feather dusters outside one of her favourite shops. The coloured plastic buckets, children’s toys and cheap, gaudy goods seemed incongruous next to the more practical workman’s tools and domestic utensils.

In her inimitable shorthand, she recorded a series of colour-notes regarding these ‘trinkets’...

‘ART TULIPS’, ‘NOVELTIES & JOKES’, ‘MAGICAL MYSTERY LANDSCAPES (glitter)’, ‘CELTIC STYLE Big shiny summer Balls, orange net ranging from violet (red/gr edge) to yellow’ and ‘SHRINKWRAP velvet “kebab”

In her new studio she embarked on a series of paintings featuring brightly coloured forms. This was indicative of a renewed, fresh vision and a calculated denial of Clough's sophisticated, perceptual experience. The curious configurations are often detached from the rest of the composition like floating fragments of half-remembered objects, while bursts of colour enliven and activate the entire painting.

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Chinese Chequers, 1989 Oil on canvas Signed verso 101 x 127 cm. (39 ¾ x 50 in.)

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Fancy Goods Two, 1992 Oil on canvas Signed verso 81 x 96.5 cm. (31 ⅞ x 38 in.)

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Trellis, 1991 Oil on canvas Signed verso 43 x 43 cm. (16 ⅞ x 16 ⅞ in.)

Gordon Samuel and Gerard Hastings discuss Clough's Trellis, 1991

Clough often made use of templates and stencils to construct her background textures. Here she has employed a piece of wooden, garden trellis with which to set off the flower-like form in the foreground. Some of the lozenge shapes between the lattice criss crossings have detached themselves and float off to other parts of the composition. This method of constructing her paintings involved searching out appropriate objects to help in the process of building up the tactile quality of her surfaces. Her visits to the garden centre or the hardware shop, for perforated sheet metal and chicken wire, were as frequent as as her visits to the art shop for paint and canvas.

"My paintings are really quite traditionally made objects, in practice. I take a thing from the real world, detach it and put it into a painting. Something takes over that goes further than anything I can logically describe or assess".

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