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WATCH: Liverpool-based artists showcase their work at the Walker Gallery in Refractive Pool

2 months ago

By The Guide Liverpool

If the pandemic taught us anything it was the value and benefit of art and creativity, whether that was baking a banana loaf or painting a rainbow for the NHS or, for some, unleashing a wealth of emotions, thoughts, and subjects, on cavasses, on walls and, even, in the spoken word.

Art can make us think, it can make us feel, and it can certainly entertain – and chances are a great exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery will do all three, and more.

If you haven’t seen Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool yet, it’s definitely worth a visit.

From large-scale abstract paintings to video pieces that put you right in the middle of them, it showcases the amazing work of 21 talented artists currently working and living in and around Liverpool.

Co-curator Josie Jenkins says:

“We hope this exhibition will give visitors an insight into the varied and exciting range of art being made in the many studios around Liverpool, which is too often hidden away from public view.

“Not all of the exhibiting artists were born here, but they’ve been able to develop their practice within this city’s thriving, supportive network.”

Among the artists are:

* Millie Toyin Olateju, based at Bold Place Ltd., a creative hub designed specifically for females, whose large-scale painting focuses on composition, colour, shape, and texture

* Gareth Kemp, currently artist-in-residence at Liverpool’s Bluecoat gallery, who’s presenting artwork influenced by a research trip to Marfa, Texas, in which he attempts to capture aspects of the unique Texan landscape

* Frances Disley, whose video piece When We Rest was developed especially for the exhibition and puts viewers right in the centre of it, and

* Jason Thompson, who favours found wooden panels on which to apply enamel paints and varnish.

Brendan Lyons creates three-dimensional items such as bags made purely from paint, allowing the media to represent something other than itself;  Anna Ketskemety, uses objects like mirrors to look at their relationship with the painted surface, and The Singh Twins, show the hand-painted prep work used to produce the artwork NHS Covid-19: Fighting on Two Fronts, which featured on the Channel 4 TV series, Grayson’s Art Club.

All 21 artists are among 38 featured in a book, Refractive Pool, compiled by curators Josie Jenkins and Brendan Lyons with extracts of interviews with the artists alongside pictures of them and their work.

Part of the exhibition presents new poetry by Paul Farley which can be heard in the gallery and online (www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/refractivepool#section–videos). Paul is a former student at Chelsea School of Art and winner of the Whitbread Poetry Prize, who was asked to write a poem for the book. The Studio is a 12-page episodic work themed around memories of Liverpool and the practice of studio painting, and includes places like the Walker and his former studio near Hope Street.

And there are free artist talks taking place for the remainder of the exhibition. (www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/refractivepool#section–events).

Katherine Lloyd, Project Manager at National Museums Liverpool, says: “To be able to celebrate the incredible painting being produced here in Liverpool feels very special, especially after what has been a challenging past two years for many practising creatives.

“Visitors can expect to see a diverse range of subject matter and an interesting choice of materials used, as well as some unexpected ways of presenting and hanging the artworks. 

“In many ways, the exhibition pushes the boundaries of what painting is, challenging our traditional preconceptions.”

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool is a Pay What You Think exhibition.

Find out more here.

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