Painting of tower blocks.

Mandy Payne, In Limbo (2017). Spray paint, oil paint, tape, archival matt varnish on concrete. © Mandy Payne.

Mandy Payne, In Limbo

Year: 2017
Medium: Spray paint, oil paint, tape, archival matt varnish on concrete
Dimensions: 30cm x 30cm
Brief biography: b. 1964, Pontypool, Wales. Lives and works in Sheffield, UK.

Mandy Payne is interested in issues of gentrification, social housing, regeneration and the flux of city environments. Fascinated by the spaces people inhabit, the traces they leave and the capacity of places to absorb memories and experiences, Payne is drawn to locations that are in a transitional state, that are overlooked or derided.

Payne works with materials that have a physical connection to the site, namely concrete and aerosol spray paints (referencing graffiti), casting concrete into small canvases to work on directly. The work is layered and time consuming, employing aerosol spray paints and micro masking tapes to build up zones of flat colour and then oil paint for fine detail finishing.

Between 2012-17, Payne explored Park Hill, the Grade II* listed Sheffield council estate and one of Britain’s largest examples of Brutalist architecture. At the time, the site was undergoing regeneration, making it a fascinating site to observe, both socially and politically. A portion of the estate has now been transformed into shiny, luxury flats; whist part remains boarded up and derelict. It is the un-refurbished parts of Park Hill that Payne finds the most inspiring, where the memories and layers of the past are almost tangible. Payne’s intention was to create observational images that spoke of the displacement of the existing communities and the transience of the urban landscape.

In Limbo was commissioned by Mark Devereux Projects and the University of Salford Art Collection for the StudioBook Commission to Collect award 2017.

‘We live in troubled times, in a deeply divided, disconnected Britain of haves and have nots, where the disadvantaged are left behind and excluded. The effects of gentrification and inequality are present over the UK but are particularly evident in Salford. The appalling recent Grenfell Tower tragedy (14 June 2017) highlights the depths of these inequalities and subsequently, a growing crisis has emerged over the issues of cladding new and existing buildings. Salford has the highest number of affected buildings in the country with 29 high rise blocks failing combustibility tests. In June 2017, Salford council began removing the cladding from 9 blocks but then halted the process due to conflicting advice from the government. This work aims to highlight the plight of the affected residents who have effectively been left in limbo and also, the somewhat impossible dilemmas facing the council until this political wrangling is resolved.’  Artist Mandy Payne.

Mandy Payne graduated from Nottingham University in 2013 with a BA Fine Art. Recent exhibitions include: ‘Contemporary Masters From Britain; 80 British Painters of the 21st Century’, China. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014), John Moores Painting Prize, (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2014) where she was a Prize Winner and shortlisted again in 2016. Her painting from the John Moores (2014) was shown in Nanjing, China, (2016). In the same year she was shortlisted for the Contemporary British Painting Prize, (London and Huddersfield, 2016) and in 2015 was the main Prize Winner in the New Light Art Prize (Barnard Castle, Harrogate and London). Payne has also had work selected for National Open Art Competition, London, (2015 and 2014) and The Threadneedle Prize, London (2013).

Payne has recently completed a two-year Fellowship in stone lithography at Leicester Print Workshop for which she received a GFTA and Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award. In July 2017, she was selected for StudioBook, an intensive artist development programme by Mark Devereux Projects. As part of this project she was awarded the Commission to Collect award selected by Mark Devereux Projects and the University of Salford Art Collection.

In Limbo was first shown as part of In Nothing Flat exhibition at Old Granada Studios, Manchester, 3 – 15 November 2017. This exhibition was curated by Mark Devereux Projects and concluded the organisation’s eight-month StudioBook programme. The work has also exhibited in Acquired: a century of collecting at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, 3 November 2018 – 9 June 2019.

Artist’s website: