Instrumental Art

Liverpool Academy of Arts, 1st Floor, 36 Seel Street
7th-24th February 2006 (12.00-16.00)

Reviewed by Helen Grey

Tucked away on the first floor of an old converted paint factory in the centre of Liverpool is the Liverpool Academy of Arts. It’s a grand name for such a small space - the Academy consists of a humble wooden floored room with an elevated stage at the far end.

On first entering the exhibition on a Tuesday afternoon, the space seems very quiet and a little intimidating, but any inhibitions dissolve when your eyes are attracted to the wealth of musical instruments hanging from the ceiling and to the various pieces displayed on the walls.

The exhibition focus is on instruments themselves rather than the creation of music. The artists were asked to move away from picturing soloists, groups and orchestras and create still life pieces with no people in the composition, having musical instruments as a central theme.

The quality of the pieces is varied - as this is an open exhibition anyone is welcome to display their work. 'The Music Room' by sixteen-year-old Steven Fogg is an extremely detailed piece for a young man of his age, which manages to keep fluidity about it. Humour is clearly evident in Mike Boorman’s 'Piano Roll (cleared for landing)' and Martin Kavanagh’s 'Port and Fiddle'. Bernie Jones - a guitar maker - has created a wonderful guitar out of a wine box and has many hand-made guitars displayed around the exhibition.

Curator June Lornie was on hand to offer any advice and information needed. She said: “The Academy in its present form was opened in 1988, and in keeping with the spirit of its forerunners, aims to encourage and promote local artists with its exhibition and performing facilities.”

I entered the exhibition knowing little and left knowing a lot more, and £65 lighter as I bought one of the paintings.

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