Fellow Travellers

Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, Greenland Street
20th September – 30th November 2008 (Tue-Sun, 10am-5pm)

Reviewed by Alice Lenkiewicz

Fellow Travellers is the title of the Homotopia exhibition presently showing at Novas in Liverpool. I went to have a look at the artworks and the talent and diversity of paintings as well as mixed media impressed me. If I could sum it up atmospherically, I would use the word metaphysical. There was something mysterious - almost alchemical - going on with many of the works and that is something I haven’t seen for a long time.

Nick Hunt - an artist and one of the curators of the exhibition - exhibited a series of exquisite prints titled On Mum’s Old Chair, depicting figurative images in a faded blue (technique known as cyanotype) of his partner standing in a room, reminiscent of old prints that you sometimes may find inside an old antiquarian book; sensitively and beautifully constructed.

Chris Turrell’s mixed media titled Strange Meeting is an assemblage box containing a model centaur lit up in a moody blue haunting light. It was atmospheric and at the same time magical.

Chris Von Steiner’s digital prints of ‘mythological’ and ‘fairytale’ fantasy landscapes with images of stunning goddesses and princes on stags in snowy landscapes were fascinating and beautiful.

Laura Lipton’s Leashed Passion - a lithograph of child perched on the back of a mythological creature - took me back to childhood fairytales and was reminiscent of the Victorian illustrator, Gustave Doré. This drawing was beautiful, strange and surreal at the same time.

Naïve John’s Giclée print The Chav-ant Garde was ‘remodern’ kitsch, clever and skilful as well as being allegorical.

There was no mistaking the blatant skill of Sadie Lee’s portraits (oils on canvas). The Actresses was particularly moving and a highly skilful example of contemporary portraiture.

Other interesting artists included Holly Johnson, Trademark and Asa Johannesson amongst many others.

In complete contrast to most of the artworks in the show, there is also a retrospective of erotic drawings by the legendary gay artist Tom of Finland, featuring eighty-eight works on paper from 1944-1989. There was no doubting Tom’s talent for drawing. His use of line and detail were sensitive and also confident. It did also occur to me that although many of the drawings were based upon fantasy and although the drawings could be described at times as pornography, there was a noticeable lack of hierarchy in the temperament between the characters which I felt was unthreatening and in many ways, humorous and witty. However, once you get beyond the interpretation, there is no doubting that Tom was a highly skilled artist.

Having spoken to Nick Hunt who kindly showed me around this exhibition, I asked him if there was anything specific that needed pointing out. He told me that although the group show came from a desire to show lesbian and gay artists and their work, it was important to stress that the show was not necessarily for a gay audience. I certainly would agree with that. There was an overall sense of glamour but there seemed to be interconnections happening in terms of symbolism, narrative and allegory throughout the works.

I enjoyed this exhibition and found a lot of the works very inspiring.

Printer friendly page

Comments are closed for this review