British artist Dawn Mellor has been commissioned to create their first permanent public artwork: a large-scale mural in Kingsbury, Brent, celebrating the life of local hero George Michael, who lived and went to school in the area. Mellors artwork is part of Studio Voltaire
elsewhere, a series of ambitious offsite commissions taking place throughout London.
Co-commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Brent Borough of Culture 2020 and Create London, Mellor will create a nine-metre high artwork depicting singer-songwriter George Michael, which will be unveiled in September in Kingsbury as part of the Brent Biennial - a series of projects for Brent Borough of Culture 2020. A programme of free activities and learning programmes will take place with local schools that George Michael attended, as well as talks, walks and workshops.
For the past twenty years, Mellor has painted portraits of celebrities, drawing on imagery collected from photographic portraits, gossip magazines, film stills and the internet. Their works are often commemorative and personal, while celebrating a long tradition of camp as a tool of resistance within queer culture.
The artist explores identity, class, politics and pop culture and Mellors protagonists have previously included Judy Garland, Helen Mirren and Karl Lagerfeld. The artist transforms their subjects via iconoclastic interventions which reflect the darkly obsessive facets of fan culture and fame; and the many roles assigned to celebrities.
Studio Voltaire has a long relationship with Mellor, with exhibitions including An Ecstasy of Purpose (2010); When I was a Teenage Bore (2009); and Vile Affections (2007). Mellor's work has recently been acquired by the Tate and included in Tate Britain's '60 Years' collections display. Their forthcoming solo exhibition as part of Glasgow International in 2021 is part of a long-term project focusing predominantly on creating paintings of multiple gangs of recontextualised TV and film stars playing characters dressed in work uniforms. Mellors first novel Sirens was recently published by Montez Press.
Dawn Mellor (b. 1970, Manchester) has had numerous solo exhibitions in London, New York, Venice, and Brussels. Recent publications include Sirens by Dawn Mellor (Montez Press, 2019) and recent solo exhibitions include Sirens, Team Gallery, New York, (2017), What Happened to Helen?, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on- Sea, (2013), An Ecstasy of Purpose, Studio Voltaire, London (2010) and at The Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2008). Their work has been shown at the Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany; The Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania; Limerick City Art Gallery, Limerick, Ireland; Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, Netherlands; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.