Nicole Bartos - Structure copy‘Aesthesis & Persona’

Blackburne House, Hope Street
Tuesday 31st May - Wednesday 29th June

Reviewed by Josephine Raven

‘Aesthesis & Persona’ was conceived and organised by the artist and curator Nicole Bartos and is currently on display at Blackburne House, Liverpool.

The exhibition features the work of Liverpool based women artists, with guest works from Hungarian and Romanian artists. Central to Bartos’s proposal were simple definitions of the terms ‘aesthesis’: sense, perception and ‘persona’: an aspect of a person’s character that is presented or perceived by others, an adopted character, ‘mask’ or an assumed identity/role; and artists were encouraged to submit work relating to their individual interpretation of these key words, creating the overall theme for this exhibition.

Dispersed throughout three rooms, the exhibition contains a diverse range of genres; from photography and painting to ceramics and mixed media collages, each piece representing a manifestation of individual artistic expression and visualisation of the given theme.

The exhibition opens with digital photographic pieces by Joan Evans and Michelle Burrows, interspersed with the more traditional aquatint etchings of Maria Fulop.

The conservatory plays host to the striking work of Andera Szocs, whose porcelain figures unashamedly portray stereotypical communications of men and women with captions like ‘you are my other half’ (the model cut down the middle) and ‘you lost weight nicely’ with pieces deliberately sliced from areas of the body. These are juxtaposed with Kate Dadiani’s representations of ‘aesthesis’ using music and the mixed media constructions emulating the inner feelings of Nicole Bartos.

The main room houses the work of a number of different artists, especially some of the larger pieces on display. The emotionally charged charcoal visions of Julie Anderson are acutely contrasted with Lobont’s cast glass angels. Giant canvases circle the room, a variety of images from abstract buildings and high-energy gestural compositions, to looming faces and reclining figures composed from dripping wax.

The context of the all the artworks is consistently reinforced with personal statements from the artists or information provided by Bartos relating to individual artistic practice. Key words in these texts are highlighted, thus reinforcing our understanding of the underlying issues tackled by these artists and drawing our attention to specific concerns.

It seems amazing how two simple words can evoke such variety of expression and manifest into so many different forms, abstract, figurative and architectural. These terms can be explored through a whole range of media, and can equally represent both internal emotions and external features. This is a highly cohesive exhibition, which successfully shows the diverse nature of artistic interpretation of a singular theme.

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