LJMU’s First Year Fine Art Exhibition at Metal
“Notions of singularity, duality and multiplicity are explored by first year Fine Art undergraduate students from Liverpool John Moores University. The works reflect experimentation and development of images, including the use of drawing, for expressing ideas about contemporary life and art.”
I managed to head down to the opening night of this exciting exhibition last night after hearing all the buzz permeating our social media, largely in part to the successful launch of the first year blog site Studio22.
Upon arriving at Edge Hill station and heading through the doors of Metal the first thing I noticed was how packed the space was. The colourful aroma of curry made by first year fine art tutor Peter Appleton, had filled the emptiness in the busy room that weren’t already taken up by happy art enthusiasts. As always with Metal, the positive atmosphere and rich history of the station made me feel at ease immediately before traipsing about the gallery.
My first stop was my favourite space in Metal, the tower room. Having seen some brilliant art work in there in previous shows it always interests me to see how the space has been used by the artists filling its four walls. I was not disappointed as I found it cluttered with strange visuals projected over gritty fabric, t-shirts and a strange arrangement of writing, roses and ornaments. With it being so dark I didn’t manage to grab the name of the artist but I’m pretty sure it was Hannah Marsh, apologies if this is incorrect!
Wandering into the main room of Metal I found a busy assortment of works by different students. I had a few favourites from the show so I’ve added them to a gallery on this post for you to look over. I particularly liked Faye Duerden’s piece Veiled Visuals because of the interactive string attached to the veil covering the painting. Upon pulling the string it ceremoniously unveiled a bright painting of a homeless person sat before a wall, but the face of the stranger physically loomed out of the canvas at the viewer. The pleasing thing about the piece was how it successfully conveyed the sense of a homeless person being revealed to the viewer, stirring an internal debate about my own conception of the unseen, ignored members of our society that call the streets their home. Having been homeless once upon a time, and having made work about homelessness before, I found Duerden’s piece to be very evocative and powerful, the jazzy colours and bright red cloth adding to the explosive effect brilliantly.
Another striking piece in the main room was Silent Desperation by Alisha Hutchinson. Her two paintings overlooking the main space are from a series ‘depicting the many ways in which mental illness can manifest itself in day to day life, contorting a persons perception of the world around.’ What I found particularly pleasing about one of the paintings was how the murky paint drew the eye away from what should have been startlingly obvious from the start, the 2 sets of eyes overlaying each other. The brilliant use of colour and composition somehow left the impossible collection of eyes indiscernible from the rest of the painting until the end, leaving an eerie sense of discovery in me after spotting them. Their conjoined, penetrative glare adeptly manifested an impression of mental chaos in the images, the subverted eyes hinting at silent desperation.
Heading upstairs into Metal’s library room I chanced upon the audio work of Richard Coburn, Electrifying Memory #1. The inviting headphones and iPod offered a chance to escape from the busy atmosphere into my own conciousness, the audio taking me on an atmospheric journey through my memories and thoughts. The vaporous noises and ethereal soundscape crafted by Coburn left me feeling an affinity with his work; I have always been fascinated by the power of sound and its ability to take you somewhere else.
Two glasses of delicious wine and a belly full of amazing curry later, I left Metal feeling elated at the quality of undergraduate art being created by the next set of LJMU artists. They are certainly artists. Every single one of them. The excellent curation as always by Metal’s Project Manager, Jenny Porter, and the industrial attitude of the staff and students at LJMU to produce another great show at Metal left me budding with excitement for future events. It’s safe to say that the next generation of Liverpool artists are in safe hands as they progress through their artistic practices. The spirit, individuality, essence and character of John Moores shines through the work of it’s Fine Art students and this is a show not to be missed.
The exhibition is open until 4pm tomorrow. If you don’t mind hopping on a train for one stop from Limestreet, get yourself down to the show. You won’t be disappointed.
The Lemon Collective