Karen HenleyRelentless Forms

Julie Anderson, Joe Bramall, Karen Henley, Pam Holstein, Sarah Richards, Alina Vila
L.Issue Gallery, Urban Coffee Lounge, Smithdown Road
3rd March - 1st May 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

If you like your art with a cup of tea and a slice of cake then the ‘Relentless Forms’ group show - displayed on the walls of the Urban Coffee Arts Lounge - is for you. Relax on the numerous sofas while tucking into a lovely piece of homemade cheesecake, and take in ink drawings, oil paintings and pencil sketches.

A collection of three ink drawings from artist Julie Anderson can be seen on the sidewall of the main coffee lounge. They depict three scary looking faces, one of a baby with fangs and clockwork orange style make-up and a haggard lady with pencils protruding from her nose and ears. The work’s sinister appeal may be explained by Anderson’s turbulent life. She says: “Through my work I explore feelings of loneliness, isolation, exclusion and fear that I have experienced through my personal and working life.” She speaks specifically of the death of the mother and the breakdown of her marriage.

On the back wall of the main lounge, Sarah Richards displays three large oil on canvas pieces. The large melancholy faces are covered with swirls of emotive colours that seem to protrude into the room. Though they perhaps aren’t the type of artwork you would want on your wall, they do explore the depth of the human face. The works seem to suggest that though a face may appear calm there can be a great deal happening beneath the surface.

Alina Vila presents some pleasant Monet-style Liverpool scenes in the back room. There are some weaker works, namely those pieces by Karen Henley. These works - apart from the child-like stylistic form - instil nothing more then apathy.

Visit this exhibition when you are in need of food for the stomach as well as food for the soul.

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