Art Feast sent Roisin Hyland down to review the latest exhibition Homeland at Wolstenholme Creative Space
Liverpool may have some of the biggest and the best official galleries outside of London but we also have some of the most impressive independent studio-led spaces in the country. Now a new generation of Liverpool young bloods have been let loose and they definitely have something to shout about!
Homeland the first in a series of exhibitions of 2012 in the Wolstenholme creative space gallery (WCS). WCS is a not for profit contemporary gallery, venue and artist studio lead space within the city centre. WCS works both individually and with organisations to produce projects, events and exhibitions that platform creative ideas and contribute to Liverpool’s creative community.
Homeland is an exhibition that explores the deep cultural association with state, region and territory. It also explores and exposes the everyday gallery spaces that artists use to create their own practice. Perhaps what is most impressive about this exhibition is that all of the featured practioners are Liverpool based artists.
For a long time it has been felt that Liverpool is overshadowed by its southern counterpart London, yet Wolstenholmes Homeland proves that Liverpool can sustain its own platform for a successful young art scene.
A mixture of impressive painting, installation and media art Homeland is an exhibition that would shine wherever and whenever it was shown. The body of work seems to capture the current moment in time, a mixture of bleak prosperity, uncertain futures but still filled with ambition.
The exhibition includes a range of pieces in varying mediums. Particularly impressive is Cherie Grist’s painting, a large dominating piece (100×100) reminiscent of an early Fiona Rae. Her use of palette is something that usually only accomplished artists can produce; yet here is a girl who studied fashion and has rejected it to come and practice fine art in Liverpool. Her painting dominates the room and this is in no way a bad thing. It is easy to become entranced with the colour, patterns and expressive strokes. It’s like viewing an aesthetic narrative that requires no words. It is a painting that takes you on a journey. As a new homeland for the artist you can see the exploration that is focused in the painting. The strip-backed layers seem to echo the decaying walls and the patterns reflect the interior – from the Victorian flooring to the more ornate details found within the Wolsteholme building. Yet it is hard to miss the emotion contained within the piece. It seems like it is waiting for any given chance to come alive. At some point in the viewing it becomes hard to believe that this is a static piece of work.
This is not the only excellent piece of work in the show. Colette Lilley’s larger then life faces, fill the room watching the viewers, their loose unfinished nature add a feeling of uncertainty and unsettlement. Matt Weir’s film explores a series of letters written by his grandmother documenting a visit to Berlin after world war two plays with ideas of communication, using his mother and sister to record the reading, whilst he overlays images. The resulting soundscape collage is impressive and well thought out.
Wolstenholme’s exhibition space is beautiful and almost becomes an independent part of the exhibition. The decaying walls tell the story of a building that has been a homeland to so many of Liverpool’s emerging and established artists and it’s interesting that the curator has left the crumbling walls as they are. There is no need for a white cube here! The artists and curator have embraced the building, allowing its own story to be told subtly amongst the works of art.
Sometimes, It is easy to forget about the independent galleries in Liverpool as there is a natural focus on Tate Liverpool, The Walker Art Gallery, FACT, The Bluecoat and Open Eye Gallery. Yet it is important to remember where the artists in these galleries emerged from. If you are in Liverpool and you want to see some young fresh art Wolstenholme is just one of the many places to go and Homeland is an exhibition that proves just how amazing the independent scene in Liverpool can be.
It’s exciting to see such fresh and creative talent in the city and there seems to be a real buzz again – something that has been missing since the 2008 celebrations. Let’s hope this greatness can continue throughout 2012.
Homeland continues at WCS until the 5 February. For more information and opening times please visit there website www.wolstenholmecreativespace.com