Leach’ art reaches us in lockdown

Tucked away on the bend of Bentley Road, Leach utilizes the residential window space of her property to create the ‘Burned Cannabis Farm Gallery’. 

The exhibition space was entitled ‘Burned Cannabis Farm Gallery’ after the activities in the property next door. Utilized for the cultivation of cannabis it was raided by the Police at first light one Sunday morning during the initial lockdown. Since then it has been set on fire several times, arrests in relation to the activities are ongoing.

An unusual property dating from the 1860s, both Cathedrals had yet to be constructed. The Royal Albert Dock has opened, but Tate Liverpool was a future re-development. The Walker Gallery had not been established and the Bluecoat functioned as a school and not the arts venue of today. As the leading cultural institutions offer us simply, ‘No way in’, Leach has presented a window gallery, allowing us to access art during the lockdown restrictions of the pandemic. 

Leach spent her professional life as a nurse, on her retirement she began to pursue her artistic fervour. After completing a fine arts degree over in the wild realms of Wirral Met, she has developed into a key figure within the Liverpool artistic Community. 

A stone’s throw from the Turner Prize-winning collective ‘Assemble’ and the regeneration of Cairns Street we via into leafy Bentley Road. A shrub lined view of presents the impressive images of Liverpool, the Metropolis in which we thrive. The retro net curtains offer an almost ghost-like appearance of the urban space. Probing to the side of the property we encounter a most admirable triplet of arches casing the details of the works exhibited. Alongside the splendour of the archaic doorbell, we are enlightened by the finer details of the paintings presented. 

Calmness prevailing in the image of Waterloo seafront draws forth, resonating with viewing ease. The relaxed, outstretched seafront decorated by the familiar colours of the houses which aline the escapade. The contemporary relevance of ‘Birthday in Lockdown’ cannot be ignored, in addition to a familiar favourite, ‘The Albert’ on Lark Lane. We may not be able to drink at its bar but when can admire its presence through Leach’ rendering.

At a time the cultural leaders are closing doors, Leach is opening new ones. We have a gallery space which looks beyond the confines of the traditional cultural venues. A fully accessible fusion of visual arts into the 24/7 pace of contemporary urban living. 

Will the rise of the window gallery last beyond lockdown? Will large cultural organisations be overtaken by grass routes initiatives? Are window viewing solutions to lockdown restrictions ready to take centre stage in the Global cities of tomorrow?

Exhibition continues until the spring.

32 Bentley Rd, Liverpool 8

art4gallery@gmail.com

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Tittle-Tattle

Tittle-Tattle is the latest feminist artwork from the conceptual artist: Alison Little. For this works, she utilises a common-place domestic rolling pin and carved a series of comments which reflect on how women judge other women on their domestic abilities. ‘Tittle-Tattle’ refers to the gossipy nature of females, those that blither over abilities to carry out household chores.

Some comments are written in hand-writing style fonts to reflect dialogue, others are statements and present bold fonts. We look towards the subject of ‘Blinds’ one area where women frequently judge others on how clean their blinds are on passing other properties. The competitive nature of women and cleanliness, the women’s league table of cleanliness, when they grade others on how clean there home is in comparison to their own. We look toward other domestic matters, ‘Your Iron’ being a dialect projecting a gossip like a statement implying it is dirty and unusable. Moving onto the mater of cooking, an area where women strive to be superior to others. The statement, ‘A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ implying that the only purpose of female existence is to please men and through homemaking. 

Homeownership is introduced, how in Britain this deemed vital to status. Addressing the way women feel able to discriminate openly over property ownership in matters when collateral is not a factor. Apply for simple bank accounts, places at nursery schools and memberships to associations. This develops further into comparisons of what areas other reside in and if their homes were once local authority owned. Property ownership in term of scale being used to measure a woman’s status as opposed to more vital factors. We try to address how in some area’s of the country, the capital in particular women are frequently excluded from property ownership through escalating costs even when earning a good salary. Address issues when they may have needed financial assistance, a springboard mortgage or my be bring up dependants and the single earner. They may make major contributions to society by earn very little that could be measured through homeownership, perhaps they work within the charity sector, creative industries or as a Minister.

How women present themself and ways in which they find to determine they are aesthetically superior to others. Designer brand clothes, hair set weekly, frequent use of nail bars and endless spa treatments. The over-use of systems of vanity which make them inferior to others.

Tittle-Tattle looks to challenge these attitudes and for women to be judgement-free within the domain of the home.

Emin: Artist then Being

Last weekend, we gained alarming droplets of information that Tracey Emin, former Turner Prize winner and forever Bad girl of British art, was suffering from cancer, escalating, full-blown during the pandemic. As a result, she underwent major surgery while our hospitals were crammed to the brim with covid coughing patients.

After being operated on by 12 surgeons for 6 1/2 hours, half of her lower abdomen organs and most of her vagina removed, the leading artist of the YBA generation shows us she’s still got Emin rhetoric:

‘I managed to keep all of my clitoris, not that it’s working.’

She is now in remission from the rapid, really aggressive cancer. Having to use a stoma bag, luckless, but she still wears the classically crooked smile on her face.

Bladder cancer is often misdiagnosed in women who are often treated for common urinary infections. The disease is often associated with old men and heavy smokers, but the artist who scattered numerous packets of Lambert and Buttler over ‘My Bed’ has not smoked for decades. Around 50% of sufferers of Bladder cancer with go onto dye from the disease, mainly due to late diagnosis.

An anxious time for Emin, she lost one of her cousin to covid over the summer months. Eminently familiar with the disease, her mother passing from a similar tumor in 2009.

Nonetheless, her reaction was not that of dread, despair or questioning mortality, she draws parallels between the bladder cancer diagnosis and the shape of the organ she has depicted on her latest abstract canvas. When she was first shown an image of the tumour, she noted that it was almost identical to a red painting she had been working on.

An immensely productive summer was the artists directive, despite her tiredness and requirement for recovery periods. She held a very successful show, Solitude, at the White Cude. Details of Love, opened at Xavier Hufkiens in Brussels last month. She has also been preparing for a show at the Royal Academy of Arts, Loneliness of the Soul, when she exhibits alongside Edvard Munch.

In addition to this, Emin found time to support the Black Life Matters protests. Of particular interest, the slave trader statue of Edward Colston being toppled in Bristol. Emin’ grandfather was a Sudanese slave who managed to breakout to liberation in Turkey at the onset of the last century.

In terms of artwork, Emin feels that she has much more to create. She is currently decamping from East London back to her childhood domain of Margate. In this she is looking to face her demons;

‘Darkness to get out before I die.’

Stoma bag in toe, she will be dipping into the murky waters of coastal Kent once more.

Emin drawing a parallel between bladder cancer and the mark-making processes of her canvasses reveal to all; she is an artist first and a human being second.

Alison Little