An exhibition celebrating the ten year anniversary of Liverpool's unique Cornerstone Gallery
Curated by Jason Jones
5th July to 10th October 2014
Cornerstone Gallery, Shaw Street, L6 1HP

Reviewed by Gayna Rose Madder

Opposite the famous Collegiate building in Shaw St (now apartments but once a world-famous boy's school), on the north edge of the town centre, stands a university campus which houses some truly iconic buildings and landscapes. There is the relatively new Capstone building, comprising a large raked theatre with wonderful acoustics, as well as public areas and study or preparation rooms. There is the beautiful Angel garden, where concerts and other events have been held in summer. Then there is the original architectural wonder and former church which is the Cornerstone; creative and arts hub for Liverpool Hope University, and home to its unique gallery.

Located on the balcony and mezzanine levels, the exhibition space offers a rare chance to look at artworks from differing perspectives, from close up to afar. Because of the huge arced windows, the light inside at any time up to dusk is exhilarating and breaks this gallery out of the usual 'enclosed' feeling from more conventional spaces.

The Cornerstone Gallery was the brainchild of former University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Bill Chambers, who while on a research trip to a University in California found himself in a much larger and more spacious gallery than most found in Britain. So, on his return in the summer of 2004 the Gallery was launched with a remit of an exhibition every four to five weeks as a method to attract people to our then developing Creative Campus and to underpin teaching and studio practice with the fine and applied arts departments in the building.

That was ten years and 73 exhibitions ago. And, despite its slightly difficult-to-access position, it has been a resounding success, featuring major premieres of such exhibitors as 2006 John Moore’s Painting Prize winner Martin Greenland.

Arthur Roberts' Summer 2014 (Thin Red Line) Photo by Colin Serjent

The current exhibition is, by its nature, somewhat eclectic, reflecting, as it must, a lengthy period in a fast-changing art world. It is impressive to see that as well as the many talented local artists have work featured here, many 'big hitters' have also chosen to take part. It is all an accolade to the high standards of the gallery.

Jason Jones, the curator, believes that the success of the gallery is due to artists, guest curators, art collectors and art loving-visitors. However there is one person whose, energy, enthusiasm and drive have kept this space alive during the period, and that is Jason Jones. How he managed to persuade some to come to this northerly corner no-one may ever know; however, those who did always seemed delighted to have done so afterwards.

'Ten' features works priced from a moderate £60 up to £1200. The work varies from paintings in acrylic or oils on board or canvas, or watercolours on paper; from landscapes to abstracts to portraits. There are mixed media assemblages, photographs, ceramic items, metal, fabric and leather elements and ink drawings. In short, the subject matter, media, size et al reflect the diversity of what the gallery has shown in the last ten years.

To mention just a few of the many worthy of it, there are Rachel Sweeney's impressively detailed neo-realist miniature photographs, 2 of a series of 33 entitled 'Body Topographies'. Staying in the genre, McCoy Wynne's 'Gulls 2' , a long exposure photograph, blurs artistic boundaries by looking much more like a painting.

Again confusing the eye is Bryan Bigg's impressive 'Gridlocked', appearing like anything but the screen print labelled - an ink line drawing, etching or even lino print, perhaps, it's subject matter is intriguing and disturbing.

John M Morrison's 'Lost Tribe', reminiscent of a Chinese abstract painting using gold leaf, is imbued with a sense of history. Arthur Roberts' intriguingly titled 'Summer' is a Riley-esque intricacy of parallel monochrome lines with just one red placed carefully among them, it is understandable one of the more expensive pieces to buy.

This is a wonderful exhibition featuring 67 pieces of work in all. It is well worth the journey there to look at the pieces, the building, the gallery space, and to just take in the atmosphere - and admire the achievement to date.

The Cornerstone Gallery, Liverpool Hope University, Creative Campus, 17 Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP
Contact : 0151 291 3997, E-mail: thecornerstonegallery@hope.ac.uk
Exhibition opening times : Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm. Admission Free.

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