• Arts Council England
  • Coventry University


Graham Chorlton

Project duration


Project overview

This body of paintings continues Graham Chorlton’s research into the possibilities of representational painting within contemporary art practice. The collection is concerned with the liminality of suburbs, and explores themes of the personal within the everyday, of presence and absence, and of immanence.

Suburbs make up a large part of our cities and towns, often overlooked or even dismissed and perceived as places where nothing happens. This collection explores the contrary, asserting that suburbia can be the location of dreaming, desire and imagination.

Designed from the early 20th century onwards, suburbs were meant to be living places, somewhere between the urban and the rural, providing space, light and breathing space. However, the suburbs occupy neither of these territories but rather a strange, constructed space of their own. Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Movement (1898) influenced the development of the first suburban resettlement in 1903. The Garden Cities were a radical response to the urban poverty at the time.

Suburbs includes 40 paintings, 30 of which were featured in Chorlton’s solo exhibition at the Midland Arts Centre (MAC) in Birmingham, from 6th September to 10th November 2019.

Project objectives

This collection aims to explore the constructed territories between the urban and rural. Taking the viewer on a journey through suburban streets, glimpsing or imagining lives lived within them. These paintings echo the action of a film, the psychogeographic walk, and the surrealists derive. The work aims to question suburbia as overlooked, dismissed and as places where nothing happens. The work seeks to reveal the contrary potential of suburban life, as a place of dreaming, desire and imagination. Suburb asks us to reconsider our quotidian surroundings and our own experiences of the suburbs.

    • Chorlton, G. (Artist). (2019). Suburb. Exhibition,
    • Chorlton, G. (Author). (2015). Pavilion. Exhibition

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