Artists / Roddy Thomson & Colin Lowe

Roddy Thomson & Colin Lowe

Roddy Thomson and Colin Lowe had a residency with GA in 2002, during which time they looked upon the Lake District with unbridled contempt. Despite their strongly London-centric outlook, they both (perhaps revealingly) grew up in North West of England, which may account for the particularly withering distaste that they seemed to reserve for the area. Their ‘24 Hour Heel Bar’ (or the "Four Grand" as they called it, in reference to its budget) was made especially for Grizedale’s car boot sale ‘Lawless’. Ostensibly functional but actually unusable, the work was a simultaneous aggressive and hilarious manifestation of the pair’s deliberate misreading of ‘engaged practice’.

Roddy and Colin poured scorn on the greed and bitterness of the local tourist industry (“Welcome to Swindlemere” read one sign) while also mocking the tourists who so merrily consume the banality of offer. An equally vitriolic work was their billboard poster, ‘The Quadruped/Biped Divide’, which was made in the knowledge that it was to be burnt by the local villagers in protest at the siting of the artwork in the forest.

A later work was in fact a realisation of an idea that they first had many years earlier: a full-size raft made entirely from charcoal, on which perch two crows. The piece, entitled ‘What Fresh Hell is This?’, was a direct reference to Theodore Gericault’s painting ‘The Raft of the Medusa’, the artists replacing the flailing and desperate human figures of the original with the two birds. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to themselves they were commissioned from a local taxidermist, while the wood for the charcoal was burnt by a Cumbrian coppice worker.

’24 Hour Heel Bar’ also featured in 2003’s 'Roadshow' that toured from the Lake District, to Birmingham and finally to Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales.