While my practice is rooted in painting, I work across media making combinations of objects and text and exploring the site specific. My work foregrounds conflicting storylines within the spatial environment, aiming to capture the collisions between the values and meanings we bring to our experiences of place, with a particular focus on borders and peripheral places that present a form of ‘Terrain Vague’.

My current exhibition Bloom at the Horniman Museum & Gardens spotlights the diverse narratives surrounding natural history and ecology, bringing into question the values and responses that emerge when we make and look at images of plants.

I was awarded an AHRC Research Fellowship for 2012-2013 for my Soft Estate project which explores landscapes that have been made accessible and also transformed by car culture. Seemingly urban in character, paradoxically these motorscapes are fragile, yet extremely self-sustaining and hard environments, changing landscapes that embody both beauty and survival.

My series of paintings, The Garden of England, draws on the 18th-century English Landscape tradition to investigate the motorway verges of Kent. Tourism, with its roots in early tourist guides by William Gilpin and William Wordsworth, has led to the exploitation and even despoliation of places Wordsworth and others wanted to protect. I exhibited these paintings in Little Chef restaurants, arguably the modern equivalent of the network of 18th-Century watering holes that catered for the Grand Tour, with a view to prompting questions about the relationship between our experience of landscape and the ways in which we travel through it.

I have produced a series of publications to accompany Bloom, Soft Estate and Eclipse. These books form a key part of my practice. They aim to open up a dialogue with and around each exhibition and combine elements of exhibition catalogue, academic publication and artist’s book..

Edward Chell is Reader in Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts. He is represented by Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Edward Chell CV