Seven years ago, when Rhys Coren (b. 1983) began studying at the Royal Academy Schools, he walked into class each day from his home. The south London skyline, on the way into town, formed a unique backdrop into his twice daily trips. Walking became an important ritual for Coren, a time to clear his head and structure his thoughts.
The experience of walking through urban space continues to inform his work and these new prints explore the sights and sounds he encounters when walking between his studio and home, both situated in Elephant and Castle. The area, which is dominated by a major road junction currently undergoing regeneration, is not one associated with nature. However, Coren draws our attention to the tall lush London plane trees that are dotted throughout the cityscape and which became more apparent to him as buildings were knocked down and the skyline was revealed. The landmarks he depicts, such as the Michael Faraday Memorial and the Heygate Estate (which was demolished between 2011 and 2014), can be identified by the titles of the works. The print entitled T.O.L is an acronym for the Tree of Life, a tongue-in-cheek reference to our literal and metaphorical journeys through life.
Pattern and repetition underlie Coren’s work. Through the cartoon-like clouds, grids of colour, flat planes and the interplay of lines in these prints Coren explores rhythm, colour and texture. Colour is very important to Coren, who has previously spoken about spending a lot of time looking at Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color plates. Whereas Coren’s earlier pieces focused on varying tones, the colour palette of these new works centres on black, white and primary colours, which is partly inspired by his young son’s toys and books.
Coren also listens to various forms of dance music from the last fifty years, which fuels his creativity. He is inspired by lyrics, memories of people or experiences associated with particular tracks, or the involuntary response music can cause in our minds and bodies. These rhythms infuse his images.
Coren was born in Plymouth, UK, in 1983. He graduated from the University of West England, Bristol in 2006 and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2016. He works across animation, writing, performance, painted marquetry and printmaking. This is our second print project with the artist.
Available for a short period at pre-publication prices. Prints from the series, entitled Trees of Elephant & Castle, 2020, can be purchased individually or as a set.
Film: Rhys Coren in conversation with Helen Waters
Rhys Coren at Jealous print studio in London
About the artist
About the artist
Rhys Coren was born in Plymouth, UK, in 1983. Coren graduated from the University of West England, Bristol, in 2006 and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art, at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2016. Coren works across animation, writing, performance and painted marquetry. He was recently commissioned to create an animation as part of the Lumiere Festival 2018, London. Entitled Love Motion, the animation was projected across the Royal Academy of Arts building and was accompanied by a bespoke soundtrack.