The story behind the new mural at Brixton Studio

The story behind the new mural at Brixton Studio | Soho House

Anne Carney Raines and Richard Burton created a new site-specific work for our south London outpost – here’s an insight on the creative process from the artists

Thursday 10 November 2022    By Anastasiia Fedorova

Soho House’s global art collection is one of the biggest privately owned assemblages in the world. The House Art series invites you to take a peek inside them, offering a closer look at individual works and collections, and revealing why they’re such an integral part of Soho House. Up next, we are celebrating a new collaborative mural at Brixton Studio
Site-specific works are always special: created for a particular location, they are one-off, unique and bound to evolve with the surrounding settings and atmosphere. Unlike a gallery white cube, the space and the work enrich each other: be it Miranda Forrester’s botanical ceiling at Little House Balham or two special mural commissions at Soho House Austin. The process sometimes is as exciting as the result, and that was the case for a new mural by Anne Carney Raines and Richard Burton at London’s Brixton Studio, unveiled this week. 
The artists have shared a studio space in Brixton for a long time, but collaborating for Soho House’s annual mural programme was the first time they worked together. Both are interested in exploring subtle colours and textures, and manipulating with dimensions in their work. 

The new painting, which is almost six metres long, creates an optical illusion of a softer quilted material with an almost fresco-like appearance, while hinting at the complexity of our perception. It almost creates a space within a space. At the launch event that took place at Brixton Studio on Monday, the artists talked to Soho House Global Director of Art, Kate Bryan, about their process – here’s what they had to say.

The story behind the new mural at Brixton Studio | Soho House
The story behind the new mural at Brixton Studio | Soho House

Anne Carney Raines

‘We sketched on our own at first to see what ideas we had separately, and they were very different from each other, so we had to adjust it quite a bit from there. 
‘It feels like we boiled down both of our practices to the very bare bones. Richard creates a lot of works with fabrics, architecture, space, and surfaces. And for me, shadow and a sort of shallow space is really important.  
‘For my work, artists like Matthias Fischer and Mona Anderson are very influential, but I also use a lot of patterns, recently from quilt making in the south of the US. Even with wallpaper, I look at different textures. I’m also reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy, which goes into the fiction of the space.’

The story behind the new mural at Brixton Studio | Soho House

Richard Burton

‘The process of collaborating was about taking things away to be able to meet somewhere in the middle. Initial drawings were much more complicated and busier, and we’ve come down to something that’s minimal in a way, but at the same time there’s still quite a lot going on across the surface.
‘Shadows in the work are very subtle. We didn’t know how it was going to read, and a lot of people have said that they pick up on the silhouettes of trees in the work much later. The idea of the uncanny is something I think about a lot when creating a sense of tension on the canvas. It’s something familiar, but unfamiliar at the same time. And the key to that is that it’s all invented, it’s completely made up. We both collect images, but we start from scratch each time.’
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