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Tom Cardwell

Tom Cardwell uses painting as a means to explore the potential of objects to act as crossing points for successive layers of cultural and subcultural narrative.


Societies have always produced decorative objects as a focus for veneration or expression of belief. Recent work has focussed on objects from museum collections such as a model warship from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and decorative porcelain figurines from the V&A, or the customised ‘battle jackets’ of heavy metal fans, garments that are visual expressions of contemporary subculture but which have roots in ancient traditions of symbolic decoration on clothing and skin.


Often a single item will contain multiple references, pointing to distinct image traditions that acquire new meaning with each cultural utterance. Other works combine apparently disparate references in a single image that places the components in imaginative dialogue with one another.


Tom Cardwell has a practice-based PhD from CCW. Recent exhibitions include Motorcycle Cultures II, Chelsea College of Art (2016), Artefacts, James Freeman Gallery, London (2015), Fragmented Narration, Estudio Lamina, Sao Paolo (2014) and Faith Once More, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury (2014).

Symbols and Subcultures event

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