Colin McCallum (born 1956) is a Scottish abstract artist who who studied Fine Art (Painting) at Camberwell School of Art from 1976-9. He has lived and worked in Barcelona for around 14 years before returning to London in 2016.
Environment plays a key role in McCallum’s work. He feels at one living in the city, and as such he thrives in it, soaking up the dynamics of busy contemporary life which he interprets in his art. He is acutely tuned into the textures, surfaces, colours, lights and structures that big cities encompass. The show title ‘Metropolis’ represents the all-encompassing reach of man-made structure and technology that epitomise contemporary urban life.
McCallum creates his work in series that he develops over time, returning to motifs and colours repeatedly whilst making subtle or radical changes until a new series comes to life. He is energised by new ideas and mediums in patterns that are repeated and broken, allowing his subject matter to dictate the piece’s style and delivery. He utilises a range of media from spray paint and stencils as in his Prism collection, to drawing with poured paint as in his Template series. In the Interference works, he painstakingly layers horizontal lines of paint, creating textures of colour that change according to the light.
Colin is increasingly influenced by the contemporary architecture in his local neighbourhood of Canary Wharf, a clash of large scale modern corporate and residential skyscrapers and neon signs against the backdrop of post-industrial docklands. As with many artists, there is an interdependence between the work and the architecture, taking inspiration from the artificial world.
McCallum’s says of his work ‘My intention is to reproduce without representing, evoke without illustrating and express without formulating.’
Pattern plays a large role in his work, with regular motifs of dots and lines appearing. He has been influenced by other artists who incorporate pattern and repetition such as 20th Century Op-artists like Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, Bauhaus artist and textile designer Anni Albers through to the contemporary artists Peter Halley, Yayoi Kusama, Beatriz Milhazes and Sarah Morris.