The Liverpool Arts Open Exhibition

The Liverpool Arts Open Exhibition

Editions Gallery
Till 18th June 2016

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

Tucked away on Cook Street in the heart of the city, Editions looks out on the bustling world below, while being a haven of tranquility for the local artistic community to show off their works. Resident picture framer Steve Heath was on hand to show me around when I visited on towards the end of May.

Now in its seventh year, an independent panel of judges selected the 59 exhibits from a strong pool of entries for the current Open. Arranged in random order across the one room gallery, independent of size or subject matter and using every available display space, there is lots to take in. A huge variety of mediums and ideas are on display, all listed on whiteboards around the room, but there were no A4 printouts, which would be useful if on a tight timescale.

So what caught my eye?

First, a black and white wood engraving, Property Ladder, from David Robertson. It’s a mass of amorphous humanity trying to form a pyramid to reach a vertical ladder in the sky, it’s first rung out of reach and the rest leading nowhere. It is assuredly a sign of the times.

Roger Jenkins has painted an Impressionistic scene in oil on paper, Strolling By The Thames, shows a couple in bright red/orange coats, (which draws the viewer into the picture), on one of the Capital’s more turgid days, the slippery mud bank heading for an incongruous and uneven foreground, as an etiolated skyline looms downriver.

Some scenes are easy to comprehend, like an archetypal lakeland photograph, Lone Tree At Sunrise, by George Evans; compare that with a giglee(digital ink jet reproduction) print on rag paper, of a barely discernible power plant producing perhaps local needs but not the dim output of a distant conurbation, in Transition 2 by Judy Lawrence.

Placed on a horizontal surface, Elizabeth Monks has produced Beetle, a wood cut print and bleached collage, the insect ‘image’ looking as though it has burrowed into a wafered tree lining; Sefton Line 1 from Anna Clark is an almost holographic hard to judge speeding glimpse of unsure depth through trees in acrylic and paint on board. Like everything else it is in 2D.

For something more threatening try Sue Greenhalgh’s Guardian; a stark totemic statue of a block headed and black eyed monster in acrylic, pastel and charcoal. Even more disconcerting, from Peter Cameron – a winner in 2010 – is his soft pastel and paper construct, Two of A Kind. A grotesque couple in garish tones and German Expressionist body language, bear more than a passing resemblance to some of Austrian Egon Schiele’s outlandish facial distortions. Scary.

If I had to pick a winner it would be this last painting but with so much to chose from make your own mind up.

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am – 5-30pm; Sat 11am-4pm

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