Marc Gooderham: ‘I’m trying to capture the vibrancy and energy of Hackney’

The Rio by Marc Gooderham.

The Rio by Marc Gooderham. - Credit: Archant

Sketches of familiar landmarks and lesser-known street corners are featured in Impressions of the City; a new art exhibition from Marc Gooderham opening at the Cabbages & Kings gallery this Thursday (October 3).

Gasworks by Marc Gooderham.

Gasworks by Marc Gooderham. - Credit: Archant

There's a palpable sense of sadness to a lot of Marc Gooderham's art.

"Concentrating on the city's decaying, unique architecture," he says, "I try to capture the singular beauty to be found in those neglected buildings that have fallen into disrepair, as the living city continues to evolve around them."

That recognisable feeling of melancholy will be present at Gooderham's latest exhibition - Impressions of the City - which opens on Thursday at Cabbages & Kings on Stoke Newington High Street.

Consisting of original drawings and sketches, the 42-year-old has focused on a landscape he knows well for this eight-week show.

Ridley Road Market by Marc Gooderham

Ridley Road Market by Marc Gooderham - Credit: Archant

You may also want to watch:

"I'm based in south-east London now, but I lived in Hackney for quite a long time. I still travel back and can't keep away from painting east London, [especially] the borough of Hackney. The exhibition is a bit of a homecoming to document that area.

"I'm trying to capture the vibrancy and energy of Hackney. These are observational drawings and sketches just capturing lonely street corners; some are more recognisable, others [are] not so familiar.

Most Read

"The East End is the heart and soul of London, for me. I used to walk everywhere, all of these drawings and locations are deep-rooted in my psyche. It's bringing together a collection of my works."

Impressions of the City includes sketches of Bethnal Green's Gasometers and The Rio Cinema; "a bit of a Mecca in Stoke Newington and Dalston," in Gooderham's view. "It's quite amazing how it has survived and maintained its presence there."

Fall of Night by Marc Gooderham.

Fall of Night by Marc Gooderham. - Credit: Archant

Other featured locations include The Ten Bells and Auld Shillelagh pubs, Ridley Road Market and a few drawings of Church Street and Stoke Newington High Street.

Gooderham completed these works specifically for the exhibition, sketching out the majority in the past couple of months. He says that while he found people coming up to speak with him about his work "a little odd at first," he soon began to find it "quite fulfilling to have that contact when you're doing something insular, [to have] someone break that concentration and interact - it gives you a bit of a buzz."

While the turnover of the seasons has sent plenty of us digging out our thickest jumpers and retreating to cosy up inside, these drizzly and darker climes offer the perfect conditions for Gooderham and his art.

"I tend to work better when autumn comes in," he explains. "I prefer the city when dusk falls.

"When rain has hit - that's when I get the most inspiration, when what I do seems to work best. The shadows, reflections, lamplights, glows from windows - all of these are key ingredients for a painting for me.

"I do like painting blue skies as well and uplifting paintings, but for me [autumn is best] as I've got so much material at my disposal."

So what is it exactly that draws Gooderham to these sadder settings around London?

"The melancholy aspect is really key for me, the mystery behind the doorways and windows; the lives behind those bricks.

"We live in an age where people are so obsessed with other people's lives - by the tap of a button you can see their history, their lives, photographs, comments, likes. I'm trying to maintain a bit of mystery, to put the viewer in to the painting or drawing."

Impressions of the City is at Cabbages & Kings, 127 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 OPH, between October 3 and November 30. More information on Marc can be found here.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter