Painting of a suburb in Birmingham, UK. Blue sky and grey road, with house and trees painted and brushstrokes visible.

About Graham Chorlton: Suburbs

The literature on suburbs is extensive, yet the subject always seems elusive. For some the suburb is a geographical space; for others, a cultural form; while for others still it is a state of mind. - Tanis Hinchcliffe

For over thirty years, Leicester-born, Birmingham-based Graham Chorlton (b.1953) has painted the built environment, often with a focus on twentieth-century architecture. In this new series of paintings, Graham Chorlton draws upon everyday locations not usually considered picturesque, but that nonetheless hold a strong sense of intrigue and comforting familiarity.

Many of the scenes have been influenced by the artist’s experience of living in South Birmingham, and the residential areas such as Kings Heath, Hall Green and Moseley that dovetail directly on to Cannon Hill Park and the Midlands Arts Centre.

The suburbs were developed in the 1930’s and 40’s and act as gatekeepers between the bustling, unrestrained city on one side, leading to the possibility of remote country on the other. These are places sandwiched between distinctive landscapes both physically and emotionally charged with differing expectations for those that inhabit them and that are rarely portrayed in formal painting.

Graham Chorlton, Approaching, Suburbs, 2019.