You have to hand it to artinliverpool.com – if anything symbolises the ‘if you want something doing properly, do it yourself’ ethos of this city, this singularly essential website does.
Set up as a mere blog to document the Biennial, the site is now the most comprehensive touch point for art, artists and those, like us, who like to sniff its rarefied air now and then, in the vain hope something meaningful will rub off.
Not content with all this, Ian and Minako Jackson – for artinliverpool is they – set up the Liverpool Art Prize back in 2008 as a platform to showcase the best of the city’s burgeoning art scene. If they didn’t, who would?
This year’s short list, and its accompanying exhibition, finds a comfortable home at Edge Hill Station, Tunnel Road, in the excellent METAL galleries and event space.
The prize, open to any artist from or based in the Liverpool City Region, is a welcome £2,000 cheque, and, perhaps more importantly, a healthy blast of coverage in regional and national press. There’ll be an exhibition too, later in the year, at the Walker.
All in all – exactly the combination of ingredients any emerging artist could crave: hard cash and serious exposure.
This year’s Art Prize exhibition proves just how vibrant, and genre-spanning, the city’s creative landscape has become of late. Thanks, in part, to events such as this – which play a crucial role in supporting, celebrating and rewarding our creative industries.
The winner of the Liverpool Art Prize 2010, SevenStreets is pleased to say, was our favourite – Liverpool-born David Jacques (pic 1) assembled a series of stereoscopic images showing the subtle nuisances of decay and neglect as our industrial heartlands lie deserted (a less optimistic approach than his last work: the playful ‘Por Convencion Ferrer’ banners were one of SevenStreet’s favourites from the last Biennial: celebrating an imagined series of lectures, around the turn of the 20th century, by an Anarcho-syndicalist group setting up summer camps in Birkenhead Park)
Jacques, who’s also on the shortlist for this year’s Northern Art Prize, said: “It was a really nice experience showing with the other four artists because I really rate them and think I am in good company.”
He is. And the award was a close-run thing by all accounts.
Praising the artists and curator for putting together such a strong exhibition, Ian and Minako also thanked the sponsors from the local business community who continue to support the arts even during times of recession.
“All five artists presented really interesting and thought-provoking work, the public vote and judge’s decision were both quite close, it was really difficult to decide which one should be put ahead of the others. The artists should be proud of themselves and hopefully many more people will follow their careers and see their works in years to come.”
“David’s work, although addressing serious and political issues, is very engaging. The stereoscopes are fun but the narrative adds a lot more and led to a lot of debate amongst the judges and general public.
Also on show, Gina Czarnecki works with sound artists, bio-technologists and computer programmers to create an unsettling series films examining our relationships to image, disease and medical intervention. Her audio manipulation, and micro-editing techniques create images of strange beauty.
There’s engaging video work by previous Northern Art Prize winner Paul Rooney, an ominous installation by Emily Speed, and a series of intriguing, paper-back sized drawings based on the inside covers of first edition Readers Digest novels found in Merseyside charity shops, by Bluecoat-based James Quin, (pic 2) who won the ‘People’s Choice’ award, and a cheque for £1,000.
“James’s paintings and series of small drawings are wonderfully evocative of the old railway station, especially during the war years. His output has been prolific over the past year and well deserves to be rewarded,” Ian said.
The Liverpool Art Prize Exhibition
To July 11: METAL, Edge Lane, Liverpool
Closed Mon, Sun.
Tel: 0151 707 2277