The Singh Twins - Liverpool 800 Coat of ArmsLiverpool Art Prize 2008

Contemporary Urban Centre North-West, Greenland Street
29th February - 7th May 2008

Reviewed by Alison Cornmell

Considering my penchant for crap music and cheesy American TV I have, much to my surprise, found myself developing into a vaguely cultured young thing. The past few months have seen me visiting numerous amounts of art exhibitions, which have surprised, impressed and in some cases moved me (with the exception of the Turner Prize, which briefly made me consider pyromania).

But not only does Liverpool have many exhibition spaces to display and celebrate this wonderful art, it also boasts home grown talent. So here in our cultural year, the Contemporary Urban Centre North-West is home to the first Liverpool Art Prize, an initiative exhibiting and promoting artistic talent here in Merseyside.

The final six who entered via the website were chosen by a panel of five judges and are all in competition for a £2000 prize. Although unintentional, each artist has their own unique style ranging from photography to watercolours or video installation to sculpture.

Its opening night was a huge success; local media attended and even the man of the moment Phil Redmond made an appearance. The exhibition space buzzed with a genuine excitement and interest, which I have never seen before. They were there to see the work produced by the six short-listed artists Emma Rodgers, Gareth Kemp, Imogen Stidorthy, Jayne Lawless, Mary Fitzpatrick and The Singh Twins.

Although all the artists featured are worthy candidates I found myself drawn to three artists work in particular.

Kemp’s simple monochrome paintings were inspired by old family pictures, his work was simple and unpretentious and managed to capture the spirit of an era that no longer exists.

Fitzpatrick’s photography was stark and revealing without preaching. Her photography is from her time in the Middle East, taking pictures of places left abandoned after conflict. Her work is so powerful that although her photography focuses on very small sections of an abandoned war zone, I can still imagine what exists beyond the peripheries of the image.

However above all I was captivated by the collection of work by The Singh Twins (see above). Their work embodies so many qualities; it can be funny, moving, intelligent, and symbolic. The attention to detail is startling and a quick glance would not do any of their work justice, as each piece is filled with quirky details and nuances that make the pieces exciting and drastically different from anything I have seen before.

This years Liverpool Art Prize was a brilliant start to what hopefully will be an annual event that will showcase local talent and in turn increase attention from galleries, curators and buyers. It is a great addition to this year’s full cultural diary and can only add to and reinforce Liverpool’s title of Capital of Culture.


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