My own fascination with hotels was sparked by growing up in Bude, Cornwall, a West Country tourist resort which houses sleepy guest houses and hotels on the seafront, an enchanting ghost town during winter turns into a frenetic tourist resort in the summer. Brighton is now my home, legendary for its dirty weekends, affairs and general debauchery.
Inspired by the goings on in hotels I have resided in and legendary hotels such as Chelsea Hotel and Hotel Marmont, 'Wanderlust Hotel' is a fictional guest house frequented by illicit overnight guests and dark secrets. The majority of the subjects come from self-staged photo shoots; populated by the weekend girlfriend, the bride, the maid, the barman, the sleeping porter, the receptionist and the VIP guest all swap roles and sweep in and out of the pictures frames.
The models in the work occupy more than one role, as a metaphor for how fate and luck play a part in our lives. In 'Sisters' I explored a meeting of two estranged identical twins; a maid and a VIP, an imagined rift is between them as if they have not spoken in years. Similarly, the model who plays the call girl is also the bride holding a revolver. Acting and the idea of 'play' is further explored in the miniature hotel. The 3D hotel model is bereft of people as if the residents are now only present in the paintings.
Love, relationships and longing are explored in this series, there is a stillness and sense of 'waiting' in the portraits which one often feels in hotels. Using quilts to insinuate sleep and slumber, the jigsaw like patterns are further representations of relationships and togetherness.
I use fabric; dyeing, washing and sewing as a metaphor for 'women’s work'. Dyeing the cloth black, I then use household bleach to paint the image which reveals the original colour of the fabric. Bleaching, washing and drying around 10 times for each painting, the final piece is then thoroughly cleaned, ironed and often carefully darned by hand to repair the material. As a result, the fabrics are rich in both history and texture. I aim to celebrate the overlooked women in the history of art who have been long forgotten due to an element of 'craft' in their work.
Pam Glew, January 2016