Giant artwork starts life in Middlesbrough shopping centre

A giant artwork, which is likely to be displayed in galleries all over the world, is starting its life in Middlesbrough’s Dundas Shopping Centre.

Altered States is taking Saltburn artist Deb Covell and her four assistants weeks to create and when it is finished it will be enormous – 80 sq ft.

“You’ll be walking into a painting rather than just looking at one. You’ll be experiencing it with your body, not just your eyes” said Deb, who is represented by the Gray Contemporary Museum in Texas and has had her work shown in prestigious galleries in the UK as well as Melbourne, New York, Kiev, Athens and Zurich.

She has been planning Altered States, the biggest project of her career, for three years but needed a space far larger than her studio.

Deb and her team have ended up in the former Boyes shop, and the vacant room above, as a result of a long-running and successful partnership between the owner of the Dundas Centre – Contract Experts Limited – and Navigator North. For more than five years Navigator North has been able to use empty space in the centre for its work with professional artists and community arts projects in the Tees Valley.

Deb is also being supported by Arts Council England, Creative Factory, mima, Redcar and Cleveland Council, Tees Valley Museums and Teesside company TWI, which is building the framework for Altered States.

“If I didn’t have all of this backing I couldn’t do what I’m doing now,” said Deb.  “If this takes off it could allow me to get a bigger studio and employ some of the people working with me. I can’t do this sort of thing on my own.  I need a team to work with. I also want to inspire people and show them that the sky’s the limit.”_Z3A8675

On behalf of Contract Experts Limited, Richard Wilson – senior associate with chartered surveyors and property consultants Dodds Brown – said the Dundas Centre owner was keen that any empty space should be used to benefit local people.

“Up until Christmas the old Boyes shop is being shared between Deb and Traidcraft, which is selling festive fair trade goods,” he said.  “It should also mean that people, who might not be familiar with what’s available at Dundas, pay a visit – so it’s good news all round.”

Deb is inviting people to pop into her temporary studio between 3.30 and 4.30pm to see her paint and discuss her work.

An exhibition featuring Altered States and other work by Deb Covell opens to the public on 10 January at Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar.