Business Service Centre
The Vale of Glamorgan Council has a percent for art policy to encourage the commissioning of public art for new builds and regeneration schemes. In September 2006, The Business Service Centre opened to provide workshop units for units for new, fledgling and high growth local businesses. Although an integrated public art commission for the building was not possible, a series of artworks for key internal spaces within the building were commissioned.
Three separate artists were commissioned to produce a series of wall mounted works for the main reception area (the waiting area and reception desk) and conference room. Painter Andrew Smith, textile artist Rosemary James and photographer James Morris were commissioned with the brief to create new works specifically for the building, taking into account the building’s location within the Waterfront and the emerging context of the Innovation Quarter. The area has a rich industrial history and the artists were encouraged to fully explore the context of the Waterfront, its social and industrial history in deriving their conceptual approach to the work.
Andrew Smith painted a pair of paintings to hang on either side of the main entrance within seating alcoves. His shaped canvases fill the space and the abstract shapes and bold colours work extremely well in the modern space. Although abstract, many of the shapes and motifs found within the compositions have been inspired by figurative elements.
Barry 1 has the large orange sweep of the harbour wall, blue sweep of the skateboard park and as seen from the island the box forms of the containers at the Docks. The fences of the town and island feature as does the Docks’ ancient capstan hanging from the top left of the painting to form a red circle.
Barry 2 is about Barry Island and the climbing steps up and around, over and down to Nell’s Point. Andrew wanted to get a sense of the steps up to the island, the steps of the houses, and the red painted brick. St Illtyd’s pre-Romanesque monastery in Llantwit Major, features in the cross form in the lower part of the painting, a motif taken from one of the sculpted crosses in the abbey.
Rosemary James made a textile work stretched over a frame which combines the methods of silk screen and digital printing, hand and machine stitch. She has created a frieze of Barry characters against a backdrop of typical Barry landmarks such as the colonnades at Barry Island, the Town hall, Dock Offices, and the red Evolution sign from one of the rides at the Barry Island Pleasure Park. A typical street in Barry is also included to give a flavour of the town’s style of architecture. This lively and contemporary work is situated behind the reception desk and is the first work to greet visitors to the centre.
James Morris researched the immediate area of the Docks with his lens, capturing dozens of arresting images. He explored the historical and continuing relationship between Barry and its proximity to the sea – a relationship which has defined Barry’s existence and development. The images are extraordinarily detailed and work on both a macro and micro level where by the overall image and composition can be appreciated from a distance and by moving closer the fine detail can be observed in sharp focus. Five photographs were chosen to be printed and framed for the conference room.