Matt Westbrook (b.1977) is an artist, educator and founding member of Grand Union Studios & Gallery. He is based in Birmingham and is the fine art course leader for the Foundation Diploma Art and Design course at Dudley College.
Westbrook’s practice is guided by an interest in simulated environments and the role of the amateur in society. Work often begins by observing scientific, engineering or botanical illustrations and processes, breaking them down into components and then reassembling them into new print, sculptural or ceramic narratives. He discussed this approach at a conference at the Uni of Sheffield in 2017, organised by Theatrum Mundi, resulting in the publication Uncommon Building.
In 2015 he was artist in residence in the Research and Cultural Collections at University of Birmingham in 2015. During this time, he became interested in the history of the ‘Old Joe’ clock tower and subsequently Joseph Chamberlain himself. Since then he has been researching themes of simulacra and display, exploring connections between Chamberlain’s love of orchids and his business and political career.
Satire has always been of interest to Westbrook and was an important part of BAZ, the collaboration that he ran with Chris Poolman from 2009 – 2016. BAZ staged events, performances & wrote texts that used humour to fictionalise the idiosyncrasies of regional art scenes. Selected projects included a pop-up, artist-led Polytunnel Beer café, a 24-hour funding application writing workshop set in a nightclub, and an artist/curator blind dating show. By creating unconventional structures BAZ hoped to encourage non-art audiences to interact and shape the interpretation of the work.
Westbrook’s work is in the Deutschebank, Bruntwood & University of Birmingham collections.
Unit 15 Minerva Works
Birmingham B5 5RS