Surface Tension - Colin SerjentArtisers

Colin Serjent and Sue Milburn
Almiro Gallery, Mersey View, Waterloo
15th September – 8th October 2006, Thurs/Fri 11am-7pm, Sat/Sun 12pm-6pm)

Reviewed by Amanda DeAngeles

A stark, brick end-terraced building sits blandly next to the opulence of The Barbacoa (one of many drinkerie-eateries) that serves the Sefton area of Merseyside, giving a warm, safe-haven away from the city centre. It has special advantage of being close to beach reserves of beauty - whatever the weather.

My destination tonight is the stark, brick building; Almiro gallery has been a pioneering, contemporary gallery in this area since October 2005. It is brave enough to recognize that gallery spaces are needed outside of the city centre and close to areas of outstanding natural beauty, which some out-of-towners may not know exist. Inside, Almiro walls are white and brightly lit. I’m offered a glass of wine and my daughter, aged six, lights-up with a lollipop.

The famous exhibition ‘Another Place’ by Anthony Gormley will move on soon, but you can buy some ‘Iron Men’ merchandise from Almiro Gallery to help you remember him, and him, and him too, in years to come when the joints will be stiff and the creaky gate will have rusted more.

Works by Sue Milburn and Colin Serjent are the current display. Initially, their artistic differences will strike you as harshly contrasting, although some themes repeat in markedly different ways. Personally, I think it is fitting that these artists exhibit together.

Sue has a slightly zany, self-effacing, bubbly personality, which opposes her meticulous, time-consuming love for something bright and beautiful. She uses a vibrant colour palette and most of her works are variations on the theme of spectrum colours, light and waves. A trio of blended skies resembles irresistible, eye shadow cosmetics.

Drifting across . . .

Colin is sensitive, reassuring and has weathered many storms to provide non-digitally enhanced photographs: most of his work is old film-reel in colouring - not black and white (which seems to be a la mode just now) but browns and creams. He has a neutral and interesting use of focus and light. Colin is also a wordsmith and titles his images with some intriguing tags. These emphasize the moment of the shot and capture his mood in a frame.

Skin Deep is out of focus flesh from an aerial vantage point, maybe.

In Nocturne, Colin views the decay of another artist’s work; paper bubbles like black wallpaper newly hung, though it is more likely to be an old fly poster never removed and weather worn. I see a feint overlay of a foot upturned, and it entices me to recall WB Yeats – ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’.

Sue stages drapes of yellow, orange, red and violet, white light chinks through.

Rusted decay and degenerative wear-and-tear of paper and then metal-fatigue respectively, feature in two more images. Colin notices the central alignment of handicraft, but now only worn, empty holes are left in the metal.

A large canvas collage of small squares shows detailed waving. This is a colour-chart portfolio of fun. (by Sue)

Shadows of branches fall across old bark, a weather-beaten home to insects and animals for centuries, tinged with moss. This image shows precision in nature of curved lines. (by Colin)

Next a large, black tabletop canvas is turned upright and scattered with placemats; I was beckoned to dine on colour. (by Sue)

Wet bark with moss or drying mud? I like how Colin keeps you guessing and yet when I stood back it looked like an aerial landscape, with a river and patches of meadow. This is a genius shot and my personal favourite if I had to choose. (by Colin)

During your visit to Almiro you may leisurely view the works exhibited, especially if you’re searching for original art to add soul to your home. Almiro has been most selective on your behalf; choosing to display mostly homegrown artistic talent for you. This is not only an exhibition art-space; many of the works are available. So why not invest for the future or be the first in your family to pass an original artwork down through future generations? See what the artist felt and choose a work of art that will impress your family and friends, offer a centerpiece of discussion to your dining room or take something as beautiful as your partner to your bedroom (don’t laugh!).

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