A Sense of Place

The Soup Collective
Blackburne House, Hope Street
1st November - 17th December 2010

Reviewed by Tom Bottle

Squally rain, a black night, and a wet front coming down from the Trossachs is never going to deter the true art fiend, and sure enough, an impressive mob are slurping the Merlot as I mosey, drippin’, into Blackburne House for A Sense of Place. Seven women artists from the Soup Collective give their take on the building and the area around in mixed media. I overhear someone introduce a mate as ‘The Greatest Man in Liverpool’ (a carefree, curious-sozzled look you can only admire), so, it could be a good night, after all.

Wendy Williams, in her wings phase has Iggy Pop’s lyrics to I Am a Passenger set out wing-shaped in one piece. “Travel” she told me, “and women taking flight”, fitting with Blackburne House’s aspiration for women to reach the heights through education leading to independence and travel in its broadest sense.

From the dream to the building itself, Jacqueline F. Kerr’s overlaid stone prints and architecture inspired drawings are easy on the eye, with tones those with taste go for. Should bring in the Christmas money. “I am interested in the Ideal City” said Jackie, pointing out the features of Blackburne House hidden among the straight lines of the city planner. Not the urban mess we call cities today but the classical Italian cities she adores in Florence and Siena. “But where are the people?” I ask, taking the chance to give the lowdown on Jane Jacobs and The Death & Life of Great American Cities, crazy stuff about cities being for people and about ‘life’. Jacqueline & Jane, now, there’s good double act.

Where does the frame end and the picture start? You have to go to art college to know that one but, having a stab myself I think Tifany Kendall’s aluminum Borg-like frames complement her 14 Stations of the Cross. The Star Trek assimilators in their tin man ironmongery surround images of the stuff of life itself. An irony I got from The Greatest Man in Liverpool.

Downstairs to the café now for Louise Waller’s ceramics inspired by the lights in and around the building, but where are they? Is it that one of them, the odd shaped pot next to the big yucca? Doesn’t look creative enough for Louise, I’ve seen her stuff. Two other art fiends give up and I join them. At the top of the stairs someone says they’re on the walls so, we turn and go back down the stairs.

Only to plod up again.

No good this, if you’ve got a bad leg.

Finally, I run into the woman herself and it’s my own fault, I should have kept my mouth shut, and its back down the stairs again.

No wonder we never spotted them, “I like my pieces to blend into the surroundings”, Louise says, “rather than standing out as exhibits”.

There’s an earthy volcanic look to the black clay and the straight angles connect with the architecture theme that’s going on. Nifty, in that chic modernist way.

Milling between diners, especially ravenous ones, isn’t my thing so I don’t get to see the rest of the work on the café walls but from a distance over the pesto Colombian meatballs; it all looks so appetising.

Scootin’ out to catch the second half of the Liverpool game I see Gerrard stick three past Napoli and get the Reds out of another hole. The Greatest Man in Liverpool!? Are they all out tonight?

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by wendy williams on 12th November, 2010 at 20:03
Exhibition is actually on till 17 DECEMBER. Other artists in the exhibition who haven't been mentioned ( unless they are in fact Colombian meetballs)... are May Chong and Emma Sumner.