Multifaceted – the new Windows of Leeds

Stephen Woowat

Last week the new artwork for the Windows of Leeds project was unveiled. The founding idea behind the giant letters was their updatability, so it was time to make good on the promise.

We wanted the new phase of artwork to feel like a significant change to the launch pieces. Making a stylistic shift was an obvious starting point, but we also liked the idea of playing with the format and giving all five letters to one person. This felt like an interesting twist to the concept. With this in mind we approached artist and Leeds College of art graduate, Abi Moffat.

We were conscious that our role should not extend beyond curator, so we did the best we could to silence ourselves and not lapse into annoying art directors. The brief was paired back to simply celebrate the many things makes up Leeds – enough of a starting point for inspiration, but open enough to not dictate the response.

Abi works with acrylic on canvas, introducing spray and gloss paint along the way. Each piece is built up gradually, best described in Abi’s own words as ‘layering through spontaneous and expressive gestures’. The end result: vibrant, textured abstract forms.

To capture the canvases, we worked with scanning specialists Cultural Heritage Digitisation (CHD) – who work with galleries and museums to create archival copies of various artefacts. Their hi-tech setup allowed us to capture the canvasses at a super high resolution — which was critical as we needed to enlarge them about 200% for the final size. We needed all the pixels we could get. The setup also allowed us to control the lighting so we could still accentuate all the painting’s textural details.

The final pieces interpret the brief in ways we never expected. Abi anecdotally references the ideas she reflected on in her process; the environment, the cityscape, night and day. But perhaps the best part about the pieces is that none of that is immediately obvious — they feel left open for everyone’s interpretation; to see something different about what the city means to them.

Thanks Abi!

You can check out more of Abi’s work here.

The new commission was sponsored by Leeds BID.

Installation photos by David Lindsay.