Across the 15 years of Topia and Gould’s experiment with collaboration, they’ve sustained a cross disciplinary practice centred around painted sculpture, drawing and printed media. Reflecting the complex experience of being in our digitally infiltrated world, the work explores tensions inherent in states of simultaneous embodiment and disembodiment. They use elements of personal narrative to question how intimacy with people and with cultural objects both creates and distorts the realities we live in.
Their current work takes the form of painted, additive reliefs.
The pieces are initiated through simple but imaginative drawings that are by turns iterative and spontaneous. They are built using primarily MDF, aluminium and polymer clay before being wrapped in an array of painted styles, techniques and finishes. A multitude of sources from natural material textures, Sci-fi book covers to microscopic imagery, are collapsed into the digital collages that inspire the relief’s surfaces and fragmented into their various cleanly delineated components. This component-based nature possesses a slightly dislocated, manufactured quality; recalling vinyl graphics, medical models, toys, signage and puzzles; balanced with an animated and character driven friendliness.
“Involving the digital but resolutely analogue, the works act in a way like ‘imaging phantoms’, for us to calibrate our senses ahead of our day-to-day submersion in a blended virtual and physical world.”
Topia and Gould have decided to cut, assemble and paint their works by hand as a way of slowing down their development in a localised and intimate process between individuals. This allows Topia and Gould’s working methods to retain some of the qualities of the hobbyist toy maker or world building attic bound model builder, and some of the potentially visionary freedom that brings.
Artist couple Roxy Topia and Paddy Gould have been working together since 2008 and are based in Merseyside, UK. Periodically they collaborate with others, often on independent publications through their press Pink Sands Studio, founded in 2018.
Works available to purchase via the platform Gertrude