If you ever get the chance, on one of those occasional open weekend things they have, take a visit to the Arena artists’ Elevator home, down Baltic way. Their warren of studios always offers something wonderful. Last time we went, one of the cells just had a massive punch bag in the middle of it. Artists, eh? Still, it’s probably a safer way to vent your anger than to write a rant on a blog. Maybe we’ll nip down the Argos in our lunchtime…

Still, this Biennial, there are a couple of Arena artist-originated pieces that have caught our eye – neither of which is particularly pugilistic.

Pamela Sullivan’s Aus Der Asche (From The Ashes) uses recycled cardboard to create a tentative structure in the hollowed out innards of St Luke’s Church. A temporary shelter from the autumnal elements.

“I am interested in the atmosphere and physical structure of specific sites or places and have always leaned towards exhibiting my art work in more unconventional environments. I found the history, architecture and atmospheric interior of St Luke’s fascinating,” Sullivan says.

“The building stands as a macabre relic that serves as a chilling reminder of the atrocities carried out during WW2. Across the world there are similar ‘bombed out churches’ left as reminders of the indiscriminate nature of war. These buildings serve as symbols of regeneration, as a testimony to the strength of real people. St Lukes stands as a shelter, no longer in a physical sense but in a supportive way to the people of Liverpool, it gives help to those who need it and to those who are trying to make a difference in the city,”

The exposed nature of St Lukes will see the elements slowly destroy the piece, together with its companion, Carol Ramsay’s Behüten (to guard or shelter). As the cardboard disintegrates, eventually there will be nothing of the art work left.

“Behüten is a temporary installation offering shelter to the visitors at St Luke’s and stands in homage to the church as it was prior to its bombing,” Ramsay says.

“It’s is also about the people of Liverpool taking refuge within Anderson shelters and wherever else they could to avoid the bombs during the war. The stories of some of these people will be transcribed inside the piece,” she says of the construction, which is based on the shape of the church’s now glassless windows.

Meanwhile, back at the Arena Studio’s small gallery, Micheal Lacey presents his first solo exhibition, Explorers. A selection of work created especially for his first solo show since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2011.

“Explorers” is a collection of work using a combination of painting and collage to explore a strange landscape cluttered with nonsensical architecture and strange rituals,” Lacey tells SevenStreets.

“It was produced during an intensive three month period since I returned home to Liverpool after a decade studying and working in Glasgow. Associated themes of restlessness and self reflection pervade the work.”

Unterschlupf, 6 – 28 October
St Lukes (Bombed Out church)

Explorers, 4 – 7 October, 11am -5pm
Arena Studios Gallery

Visit: www.arenastudiosgallery.com

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