, Argyle Street, Birkenhead
14th September – 28th November 2010
The Six Rooms Gallery is a lovely venue of the Independents Biennial
located in the otherwise unremarkable Hamilton Square. The second stage
of the show opened recently, and having enjoyed the first group’s
work, I headed down eagerly to their wonderfully unconventional yet comfortable
This second group’s works are somewhat different from the first,
with less installations and more traditional formats in use. The installations
are by Carolyn Shepherd, and include the piece Growth, which is a paper
installation, with shredded paper arranged in a loose column shape in
a darkened room, with more pieces arranged around the centre of the space.
As a piece of art, it is imagination capturing, and it made me think of
a storm of recycling winding around the room. Possibly not the intended
message, but the use of shredded paper normally thrown away struck me
as worthy in itself and therefore a good use of the material. Moving into
the sunlit courtyard, I was instantly struck by the DNA molecule-like
piece seemingly called Steel and Ceramics by Barry Canning-Eaton, that
had an unconventionality to it that I appreciated, to the point that if
I had the space on my invisible patio, it’d be there!
Cathy Wu’s work also caught my imagination, with the whole collection
of pieces making a unique room indeed. Curator Theresia Cadwallader said
that “having her calligraphy on display with other artists work
has definitely made it accessible and beautiful” and I would concur.
Visual work is a staple in art, but Wu’s calligraphy is written
words from a visual language that is beautiful in and of its self. Cathy
expressed surprise that people who don’t understand the Chinese
written language would be interested in her work, but to my mind it is
the visual quality, from many years of practice, that makes the pieces
wonderful to many people. In particular, The Way with the Brush caught
my eye, which I later discovered was one of Cathy’s own favourites
too, based on a piece of advice from her calligraphy teacher! Next to
impress was Susan Brown’s work, from which the pieces The Pickpocket
and Umbrellas jumped out at me. The latter in particular, with its dark
shades, almost melting silver sky and mysterious message struck me deep
inside. Umbrellas are mysterious objects, plain in their intent, yet possible
to be hidden under or behind, used as a potential weapon etc and this
piece was almost a personification of that idea. Again, it’s one
for my ideal living space!
There is much more to see than I can possibly do justice to in this review,
but I will say that the following pieces caught my eye whilst exploring
the refreshed space. David Brown’s Cornfield caught me unawares
and made me appreciate its more traditional outlook. Toni Hughes’
photographic work universally made me catch a breath with his unique colour
editing, bleeding every last drop of breathtaking scenery from the Wirral
and Liverpool out into the open. Truly, his work is what photography should
be about! Finally, Rob Symington’s work, the series of mixed media
pieces Within You, Without You struck me with their colours and identities
that all seemed to be evolving in front of my eyes as I looked at them.
Needless to say, there is more to see but that’s for you to discover
and me to know. Simply put, make Hamilton Square your destination, even
for an hour, and visit Six Rooms Gallery before Group 3 comes in and makes
the space something entirely new!
Comment left by Cathy Wu on 5th November, 2010 at 19:25
Thank you for this lovely review! Pity that it didn't come out before our closing day, which is last Saturday. Nevertheless, this is a wet November heart warmer and great encouragement to be appreciated. Thank you!
Comment left by Alison Bailey Smith on 5th November, 2010 at 23:32
I have to disagree on one point, I don't find Hamilton Square unremarkable, I personally find it elegant and I am mystified as to why it has be allowed to be cut off from the rest of Birkenhead. It has georgian elegance on a grand scale that in Edinburgh would considered to be prime real estate (Charlotte Square at the west end of George Street and St Andrews Square at the east http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Square). As you know I am involved in this project and we are all very appreciative of the support that we have had from Nerve Mag in reviewing each group.