All The Empty Places

Margaret Cahill
Cornerstone Gallery, Hope @ Everton
9th June - 7th July 2006, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

It is shame the Cornerstone Gallery is such a trek from the city centre, particularly when there is an exhibition of this quality on display there.

Artist and lecturer Margaret Cahill is predominantly based here in the North West, but her paintings have been around the world more times than a Russian satellite, featuring in exhibitions in New York, Eastern Europe and Sweden respectively. Much of the imagery for her current body of work - ‘All the Empty Places’ - was inspired by her time in Eastern Europe.

Combining the mediums of photography and painting, Cahill conjures-up unsettling yet aesthetic images upon the canvas. The vast, atmospheric spaces depicted give rise to a sense of displacement. A narrative accompanying each canvas would be apt, but the artist has opted for the ambiguous. Perhaps the sulphuric landscapes are a subtle reference to today’s environment issues and climate concerns?

The arcane faces, staring vacantly out of some of the canvases are equally unnerving. Beauty and desolation in equal portions creates a strange dissonance, inviting the viewer to look again and consider the boundaries between absence and presence and ambiguity and fact.

Margaret’s work has already earned critical acclaim in the press, notably in the Guardian and Metro, but it is unlikely to be seen by many members of the public aside from Hope University staff and students due to the location of the Cornerstone Gallery.

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