Art at Westgate is a programme of public art featuring work by some of the most respected artists in Britain and mainland Europe today: David Batchelor, Rana Begum, William Cobbing, Adam Dant, Nicky Hirst and Daniela Schönbächler.
The series ofnew permanent and temporary works of art, curated by Modus Operandi, have been created in response to Westgate’s history, its new identity and its setting within the city, with the aim of creating a new cultural quarter close to Modern Art Oxford.
The five permanent artworks: Lantern and Oculus by Daniela Schönbächler, Myriad by Nicky Hirst, 274 Reflectors by Rana Begum, Homage to Dr Mirabilis by David Batchelor and Paradise Garden by William Cobbing, have been especially commissioned for locations throughout the centre. Together they form a constellation of focal points that heighten the experience of Westgate, enlivening and notating the pedestrian journey.
The Westgate Cultural Meridian, is the first of the series of new commissions to be realised for the Westgate Oxford Public Art Programme. The work is installed at St Ebbe’s and navigates the perimeter of the Westgate hoardings.
In Adam Dant’s unique vision for the temporary hoardings project, the site of the new Westgate Shopping Centre becomes a notional compass, placing the City of Oxford at the centre of the world.
Daniela Schönbächler’s commissioned artworks Lantern and Oculus, located at the Bonn Square entrance to Westgate Oxford, have been conceived in collaboration with Dixon Jones Architects. The two artworks, integrated within the architecture of Westgate, serve as visual markers for the scheme and herald the route-map of art commissions that form the Westgate Public Art Programme.
David Batchelor is creating a new work for Westgate Oxford’s South Square, inspired by the form of the astrolable in a sculpture of Roger Bacon (one of Oxford’s most famous 13th century Franciscan friars known for his studies in alchemy and optics). The artwork will be a free-standing sculpture, working with key elements of colour, light and form which are central to Batchelor’s practice.
Nicky Hirst’s Myriad, marking the entrance to the Central Library, encompasses colour, light and reflection. The artwork references hives of activity, signifying new discoveries through a broad colour spectrum. The artwork is created on printed vinyl applied to the Library glazing and extends beyond the entrance to the ground floor and Castle Street windows. Library users experience the artwork in a transient way whilst moving through the space, with multiple viewpoints and readings from within and outside the Library.
'Future Knowledge' opening 20 May through to 25 June at Modern Art Oxford features material from Rachel's Urbansububan commission. See: https://www.modernartoxford.org.uk/event/future-knowledge/
In Urbansuburban, Rachel Barbaresi explores the relationships within the area of St Ebbes in recent history (within living memory) in the context of the new Westgate Oxford. This activity has principally been through reminiscence work with local groups, working closely with Oxford City Council, and draws together material ranging from objects, sound, photographic and archival images and drawings.
Rana Begum is creating an integrated artwork for Westgate Oxford’s Middle Square, using a material new to her practice in a work and referencing both contemporary technological structures and classic architectural construction. The highly reflective work, which responds to the architecture and its surroundings, deals with the idea of interaction - as the viewer moves, the colours and forms of the work shift and change.
William Cobbing’s commission, Paradise Garden is a serial sculpture, comprising seven quarried stone boulder forms, each inlaid with ceramic tiles referencing the archaeology, history and the flora of the ancient site of Greyfriars Place. The constellation of sculptures complements the landscaping design with a rich material quality, presenting the public with a tactile experience and an invitation to reflect upon the history of the site.