Last Thursday night I visited ‘Metal’ at Edge Hill Station to view the Liverpool Art Prize 2012 shortlisted art work. Alan Dunn with his installation and audio, Tomo with his Graffiti art and paintings, Robyn Woolston with her installation, film and photography and finally, Drawing Paper by Jon Barraclough and Mike Carney.
I must say that the whole evening was a learning experience which gave me a greater insight into the modern art world today. I’m glad this art prize recognises and celebrates Liverpool practitioners, rewarding new talent based in or born in the region. With so many art institutions in and around Merseyside there is definitely an abundance of talent out there that needs to be recognised.
The exhibition left me inspired by the work of artists across the city but I felt compelled to pick a winner after touring the exhibition rooms. With help from the extremely knowledgeable curator Ed Barnett, himself a man of vast talent as a playwriter, I was filled in on the artists CV and he also helped me interpret some of the installation work. I found the whole experience of choosing a winner most difficult, so I decided to enlist the help of the family on a Saturday afternoon visit. And wasn’t it a good idea! As soon as my daughter saw a room flooded with plastic forks with a birch tree stuck in the middle of it, she was away stamping and crunching like mad! That, was Robyn Woolston’s contribution going well I thought.
Advancing into the next room, mum got busy with the headphones listening to the varied audio tapes from Alan Dunn’s installation and I could see she was enjoying that, as he had provided an arrangement of over 100 downloads. A trip upstairs gave us the opportunity to meet the graffiti artist Tomo who was in the process of painting – real live action here! Dad, this is a real artist, at work, tell the teacher at school! Tomo had time for a chat and I’ll blog about that some other time but I could see he already had a convert.
We all went further upstairs and into the Drawing Room, set out like an artists living room…Table, chairs, lamps, chesterfield sofa, lounge lizard reading a book, pens, pencils, paints, paper, all you would ever need to draw. We spent an hour there, in that room, all drawing and putting our drawings, each and every one, into the selected pigeon holes titled ‘shape’ ‘body’ and ‘light’ Finally, we all went downstairs and somebody small had already given her People’s Choice Award to somebody she had met and who had inspired her and not kept quiet about – all weekend long!
Me, well, did I make a choice? If an exhibition installation could lock down a family and keep them all focused on one thing for an hour and give a buzz for days after and have something concrete produced by all members to contribute to the art exhibited, then I think it’s a winner. It’s art like this that needs to capture the young at heart at an early stage and prepare them for the understanding and the enjoyment of future art exhibitions in their lifetime.
Metal at Edge Hill Station Liverpool runs until Saturday 9th June.