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Landmark eco-building inspires Susan Gunn’s latest work for the University of East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 09:08 30 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:08 30 September 2015

Susan Gunn and director of The Enterprise Centre, John French, with her artwork at The Enterprise Centre.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Susan Gunn and director of The Enterprise Centre, John French, with her artwork at The Enterprise Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A landmark eco-building is both the backdrop and inspiration for artist Susan Gunn’s latest work.

Mrs Gunn – who is married to former Norwich City goalkeeper Bryan Gunn – has created an impressive 20m painting installation for the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia.

Ahead of last night’s official unveiling of her work – called Terra Memoria – the award-winning artist spoke of how it was her most ambitious project to date and 16 months in the making.

The Enterprise Centre is said to be the UK’s greenest commercial building, and Mrs Gunn, 50, said the venue’s innovative architecture and natural surroundings were a rich source of inspiration that worked well with her passion for creating art out of natural materials.

She described her work – made up of 11 paintings linked together – as “a monument to the building and to the vision of the architects” and said she developed her idea by watching the centre being built from the nearby memorial gardens.

“I really liked the idea of the offset vertical lines reflecting the rhythm and swaying of the trees in the gardens opposite, so that is the concept of the piece,” she said.

The Gunn family now lives in Cheshire but Mrs Gunn said they still enjoyed strong connections to Norfolk. She said she felt it was quite special to have her latest project on display in the county, in part because it was at Norwich University of the Arts that she returned to her love of art as a way of helping her deal with the loss of her two-year-old daughter, Francesca, to leukaemia in 1992.

The Gunns have two other children who are following in their parents’ footsteps in the arts and sport. Their daughter Melissa, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Manchester, is working with an interior designer, while their son Angus, 19, plays football for Manchester City.

Mrs Gunn’s latest work was commissioned by John French, project director for the Enterprise Centre which was created by the Adapt Low Carbon Group and designed by architectural practice Architype. He said the building aimed to be a great inspiration for people and he was delighted with the stunning work of art it had encouraged Mrs Gunn to create.

“For me it [Mrs Gunn’s work] captures the lineality, the lines and the shape of the building. It also captures a sense of time because it was created in parallel to the building being built,” he said.

People can view Mrs Gunn’s artwork – which spans the length of the Enterprise Centre’s lecture theatre entrance – from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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