|Sarah Brown welcomes us|
As an applied artist I usually find myself a little intimidated by the cutting edge of contemporary art but helped by Sarah's lucid explanations of each artist's motivation and working methods I really enjoyed our look round. The show wasn't due to open for several days so we saw some of the work in the process of being readied for display so this review is of necessity a little incomplete.
|Richard Rigg 'Some Rest on Six Occasions' Detail|
|Leo Fitzmaurice 'Horizon' detail|
|James Hugonin 'Binary Rhythm 2' detail|
I had no such conflicting feelings over the work of the final artist Liadin Cooke . Her work is an absolute riot of colour and above all texture. Her work could not be called attractive but it packs an emotional punch even though sadly one can't heft the weight or feel the complex surfaces (or even take photos). With my background in traditional textile skills I was particularly drawn to her piece 'Miserable Object' inspired by an unusual embroidered sampler in the V&A. The latter records the sad life of its maker and her eventual redemption. Cooke's work is a series of wobbly parallel lines 'drawn' horizontally across a white background using red wax. The lines are like the readout from a heart monitor - almost flatlining but with just the tiniest flutter as the artist's hand wavers across the canvas. I saw in the piece all those endless lines of embroidery stitched by all those faceless Victorian women whose fate was to be as forgotten as Middlemarch's heroine.
Having called Cooke's work unattractive I should make an exception for the work hanging next to 'Miserable Object' whose title I failed to note. It consisted of a dark, smoky rectangle of crushed nettle leaves with a single pearl set into it slightly off centre. Simple, beautiful and intensly mysterious. Her unfinished piece 'Some Particular Place' lay nearby and couldn't have been more different. A really large lump of unfired clay, pummeled and shaped into a mass of chaotic spikes, whorls and crevices then sprayed with car paint in a rather nasty shade of metallic purple, it sat and brooded behind a protective screen like a malevolent sea creature. It will be fascinating to see how it changes over time as it slowly dries, maybe it even moved a bit while my back was turned, I wouldn't be surprised.
I am really looking forward to a return visit to the show now it is fully open. I am sure I will begin to see lots that I missed during this first brief look. The winner of the Northern Art Prize will be announced on 19 January 2012. We all disagreed about who we thought should win. My choice on the night was Richard Rigg, but having written this blog I'm not quite so sure anymore....!
|Social media types engaging with art!|