MA Show 2011

Manchester Metropolitan University

Faculty of Art and Design

An exhibition of work by art, design, media and architecture students from Manchester Metropolitan University

Jonathan Chadwick

My practice based research traces a link back from contemporary graphic satire to Dutch and Flemish allegorical and emblematic prints, circulated in Britain towards the end of the C17. These complex, cryptic visuals influenced artists like William Hogarth to produce robust counterpoints to the more elevated and rarefied art of the European Renaissance. This social satire saw artists publicly ridiculing the grotesque affectations and behaviours that arose as a by-product of modern consumer based society.

In progressing this tradition, my illustrations present personifications of disparate elements of the modern bourgeoisie. This understanding of concepts in terms of their humanisation, relies on the visualisation of figures of speech including ontological metaphor, metonym and synecdoche. The use of figurative art to represent figurative language also allows for the understanding of abstract concepts by referencing them against concrete ones.

The visual narrative of Hogarth's 'A Rakes Progress', the framework for my series, works as a conversational metaphor since it's construct shares the same natural dimensions of linear sequencing, participation and cause and effect. The underlying conceptual metaphor of the 'seven deadly sins' from early religious allegory also runs through my series, whilst the situations my characters are enacting relate to recent news and events.

Central to my studies has been the declining role of the British pub within society and its position within our psychogeography. Drawing as much from high art as low life, each image is linked with a British pub name, the origins of which relate to the visual. Through the use of the Situationist tactic of D├ętournement, I've deconstructed pub signs taken for granted as part of our urban environment and reconstructed them with a politicised agenda. The series serves as a demonstration that pub closures are symptomatic of an increasingly fractured society, where MySpace has replaced 'our place'.