photo emulsion


Mick Boffey was born in Liverpool. He trained at Loughborough College of Art and Design (BA (hons) 1994) and De Montfort University (1997, MA with Distinction). He has participated in group shows at The Royal College of Art (2013), The Collection, Lincolnshire (2009), Bow Arts (2008), the Catacombs Gallery, St Pancras Church (2003), and London Cable Street (1999). In 2013 he was a finalist in the National Open Art Competition.

In Boffey's wall-mounted works, described by Jill Journeaux as embodying a 'frozen melody', the space around ornamental objects from a certain kind of domestic interior is rendered solid in lyrical form.

In his recent work quotidian domestic decoration: wallpaper, carpets and flowers in a vase – that which is routinely overlooked – is brought into focus and rendered in monolithic form using plaster, concrete and bronze.

In Dreaming in Braille (2012) flowers are pressed in plaster and then cast in molten bronze. The resulting wall-pieces hover between painting and sculpture. These 'solid negatives' with their swirling, baroque marks and impressions – created by the imprinted crushed petals and surrounding swirls of material – encourage further associations with painting and with the gestural brush-mark, suggesting human emotion caught and suspended in bronze forever.

The subject matter, relating as it does genre painting of the 17th century (both still life and flower painting), still carries with it associations of time passing, of death and decay. The convention of casting forms in bronze has deeply-rooted cultural connections with the desire to give permanent form to important human events. Over time the patina that forms on the surface of the bronze through age and exposure parallels the passing away of particular moments of human life.

By bringing together these techniques, processes and collective cultural associations Boffey deftly and poignantly imbues these strange works with a sense of loss of the evanescent moment. These works explore, express and embody emotions relating to loss, regret and yearning, and, on further contemplation, open a pathway for darker areas of feeling.

A perspective

According to psychopathologists people’s abiding tendency is to avoid confronting loss. Instead, they cherish it by refusing change and subject the relics that remain to endless emotional ransacking as a continuation of their own withdrawal.

Imaged in the paintings of Michael Boffey, these remnants, here in the form of cut flowers, vases, clocks and other domestic and ornamental paraphernalia are not superfluities then. Projected against motif wallpaper, these faded fancies have been transformed through various nominal and procedural processes, both gentle and violent, to allow a meditation on reminiscence.

The playing fields of memory contain a superabundance of richly complex accounts, sometimes embellished and sometimes faded. Apparently nostalgia is a very bad thing, but despite benign advice about not to looking back, we have little idea of what our world will be like in the future. It seems that coping with the fears and pleasures of now and with those of tomorrow does necessitate acknowledgement of a past.

Jean Taylor
© Michael Boffey 2024: all rights reserved
Design: S K Peaches
Photography: FXP Photography