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

Capturing Autumn

Capturing Autumn

Ballast
Capturing leaves
They fall, season dictates
Bittersweet oranges
Tarnished umbers
Dishevelled, reduced
Erstwhile leafy; vivid
Fresh, fertile edged
Now dispersed; decay

Grid formed geometric, they dwindle
Ashtray of the urban Green space
Stands ruptured
Handle thrust forward
Splintered forth
Collision engaged
Chain of Bargains
Discount stores
Line the city
Multi-pack
Multi-discount
Multi-consumers
Seeking conserve
Coins stretched
Pennies pinched

Leaf forms flutter
Wind-stream low-lying
Descending, cascading
lines across
lines up
lines down
all circuits, every route
A catchment tool
Scathing, downward to decay
End of foliage
End of season
Death, frosts enrol, white
Hapless
Nix evergreen
One-season wonder
Beautify
Age
Fall
Finis through downfall

Grassland encompasses
Dictated requisite
Local authority; provide parklands
Urban respite
Greenery, foliage
Escape from high rise
From Victorian terraces
From two up, two downs

Ravens render round
Empty happy meal
Spoils of divorce
Saturday childcare

Field for fireworks
Discarded shells strew pathways
Fly high, hell toward heaven
Assisted by death masks
Halloween trickle-treaters
This year, pandemic banned
Also, the goons of heroin
Pale and malnourished
Elongated faces
Skin stretched around bones
Checks zipped up
Lines of ghostly toxin

In tandem:
the street drinkers
Groups up early
Cider engaged
Strongest, shop vends
Penny laden purchases
Doss money change
Begged from passers-by
Those to work
Students drenched;
social empathy
Provide coppers
Cans swelling
Mud drenched
Hair excesses
Scattered;
Societies edges.

Succeeding, with sundown
Brasses splay
Brandishing streets
Curtailing cars
Curb crawlers
A flying trick
More heroin
More cider
More degradation
More eradication

Lock down
A park markedly altered
Notes of saxophone
engage airwaves
practise; open air
Culture to the pastures
Sunday offers gospel
Singer positioned
Hilltop
Apex of Everton
Belts out chorus’
Songs of the lord
Hope and Faith
Despondent juncture

Park reclaimed
Exercise
Prescribed one daily session
Decreed by governance
National policies
Shops, bars, cafes trade less
Paths entertain joggers
Hills platforms for training sessions
Weights out
Rope lines shook
Sparring
Skipping
Muscle tone work

Families: one bubble
Swing parks restricted
Other playmaking sourced
Ball rhetoric
Skates
Scooters
Screeches of pleasure

Now; leaves diminish
Winter approaches
Pandemic set to end
What will spring behold?
Families to soft play centres
Exercise at the gym
Sax to rehearsal space
Gospel singing in church

Post pandemic return
Paths of dog walkers
Goons of heroin
Hairs of street drinkers
Covid diminished
Urban sprawl to return

Alison Little

Boris ‘Bo-Bo’s’ Halloween

All around us, more than any year previous, excesses of Halloween decorations are taking over the town. Streets are being aligned with spider’ webbing, doors taped and stating ‘Do not Enter’. Window sills adorned with hand-carved pumpkins, illuminated by old fashioned candlelight flickers. As a Nation we stand together:

‘We want Halloween!’

Boris and the Government have been tittering a blanket ban on Halloween since early October. Stressing how we must adhere to the rule of 6, although they have advised against Trickle Treating they have only stopped marginally short of a blanket ban.

This year, more than any other, do the kids not deserve autumn festivities more than ever?

An extended period off school, unable to meet up with friends. Swings stayed still, slides redundant and the little ones could only marvel at the height of the climbing frame from afar. Swimming pools were all but drained dry, soft play centres remained silent. Summer holidays were cancelled or re-arranged as dictated staycations. When the social distancing regulations were relaxed and they allowed out to play, but, fun in the sun became drenched by the downpour.

Financial hardship reared it infringing head, many parents were laid off or encountered an income reduction. Denied long periods without the company of their grandparents. Many have experienced the death of a family member or friend for the initial time.

But, should be ignoring Boris’ Bo-Bo-ing?

Infections of covid rise steeply, the death toll has passed the daily average of 100. In Liverpool, the levels of hospital admissions are equal to those at the height of the pandemic.

How to celebrate safely:

  • Incorporate face masks and gloves into trickle treating costumes.
  • Avoid knocking on the doors of elderly or vulnerable neighbours as they may be shielding.
  • Use hand sanitizer after rapping door knockers.
  • If you are laying on treats make sure there in individual wrappers and consider an outside collection tin, which you can top up throughout the evening.
  • Children can be directed to wash the sweets in wrappers when the return and before they take their gloves off.
  • Although a lot of Halloween events have been halted, English Heritage is still running lots of socially distanced scary woodland walks.

But, the absolute no-no’s:

  • Disregarding the rule of 6.
  • Going out if anyone, or anyone in the same household has covid symptoms.
  • Any apple bobbing games: an infection spreading mecca in a watery bucket.

Have fun, we are set for a full moon and a possible an additional glimpse of a blue moon.

Bog-Off’ to Boris and Bo-Boing Halloween!

Out with the Kar-TRASH-ians

Early autumn we got the good news, after series twenty ‘The Kardashians’ will finally be going off air.

A show I have never watched and actively cringed when I hear a radio DJ mention the ‘K’ word on air. Flipped the page straight over after viewing the ‘Kard’ in a magazine headline. In terms of news print about the central character: Kim Kardashian, the only productive use I could find was as substitute toilet roll during the stockpiling shortages of the pandemic.

One question I would delight in Kim asking:

Does my mind look small in this show?

A TV show which bring the lives of the wealthy, but incredably trashy, family to the flat screen.

So, in ignorance of the show, I set myself the endurance task of watching the pilot episode released well over decade ago.

And what did I find?

First off, an extended collection of catty girls who refer to their ‘Asses’ frequently. Further talk of ‘Sagging Tits’ as they perform poised struts while terming each other ‘Whores’. Not to mention, pole dancing! The pole itself being a gift from Kim to her parents for their anniversary. Kim and Co, happy to applaud as the pre-teen youngest girls of the family perform overtly sexual moves on the ‘Gift’. Only stopping by their father, a former Olympian who goes to have a sex change. Should we be supporting the former him, now her from a transsexual rights point of view? Or is it just another overtly public Kardashian stunt?

However, he is not in fact Kim’ biological father, so where did her mindless genes surface from? Her real father was in fact: Robert Kardashian, the defence lawyer for OJ Simpson of the famed trial of the nineties. Could Kim have inherited an anti-feminist
genetic make-up?

Another question which appears to be continually broadcast:

What does Kim Kardashian actually do?

She was initially an assistant for Paris Hilton, then a stylist for Brandy Norwood, finishing of with a stint as Lindsay Lohan’ shopper.

And Now?

She has a high end Fashion Boutique which she considers a place to ‘Catch-up’ on gossip and comtemplate ‘Star signs’.

Not forgetting the sex tapes…The sex tapes she made with a long term boyfriend …..
simply for private use…. which then went public….

Simply, famous for being famous, collection of contrived ‘K’s’ that litter our TV viewing.

Do I have anything else to say?

‘Yes Kim, your mind does look small in this show!

Alison Little

Minted

Minted, an exploration of Capitalism is the latest artworks from Liverpool based artist: Alison Little.

‘Minted’ stretches across the painting, reflecting wealth through the Scouse colloquialism. However, it is neither promotional of defamatory, objective towards the acquisition of wealth.

The concept of the painting was conceived BC (Before Covid), it was worked on during the pandemic and completed during late August which was being proclaimed as AC (After Covid). Now being exhibited in what can only be considered MC (Mid Covid) due to the escalating rise of cases defining a second peak of the virus. In context, the works can be considered more potent during the contemporary climate of mass unemployment and unprecedented economic decline, in the UK and Globally.

The painting presents maximism of the most extreme, highly patterned, a tactile variation of texture and a mass of colour. The background manipulates acrylic pouring techniques, suggesting that the text has been ‘Slam dunked’ into position. The range of purples, a regal infusion, combined with the Gothic font to imply Royalty. Currently, the Queen’ estates (UK) have lost over 35 million as a result of reduced tourism from coronavirus. The golds of ‘Minted’ have scrapped with black acrylic, perhaps implying ‘Dirty money’. The letters are almost camouflaged within the visual plane, akin to wild animal fur, suggesting revenue and opulence.

Ground-breaking, contemporary work brought to us from a leading North-West based artist.


Acrylic on mixed media panel
80×80 cm
£250

Contact to purchase


Covid

Covid

2020 came in
A new year
So far away
China struggling
Culturally
Physically
Economically
An extended gap

10 thousand die of flu
Remember SARS
Didn’t materialise
Figures suggest 20 thousand deaths
Early Feb, quarantine measures
We were told
Must take it as part of the heard
Face masks: no use

March
It got real
Italy hit
Schools, universities, everywhere
Lock-down
Hospitals couldn’t cope
Elderly made comfortable as they die
Spain then followed
The USA: invaded
COVID

The UK next
Death tolls rising
Schools shut
Pubs, shops close
Extended queues at supermarkets
The Epidemic was real

Dirt lined mouth
Covid shell coating
Fever starts
Shaking, sweating
Side to side
Restless
Confusion
What day is it?
The time, light or dark?
Able to walk
So So tired
Confused
Got through fever
Cannot eat
Cannot sleep
Can only drink
Mouth, toxic taste
Gargling
Stomach rocketing
Green sick
Repeatedly
Bits of bile
Knife blades cut stomach
All food, straight through
Lack Focus
Half listen music
Isolate from news
Off Facebook
Face smashed: brick wall
Coming too
Mind first
Body second
toxic taste remains
Brush teeth
Wash
Scape off Covid layer
Wash hair
Shave legs
Go outside
Sun rays
Morning stomach crunches
Eat
Hunger
Enjoy meals
Crunches go
Toxic taste departs
Covid free
Live again

Every newsflash: a death count
UK the epicentre
Pandemic at height
Funerals attended
Numbers rise further
20 thousand deaths predicted passed
40 thousand deaths passed

Normality begins to return
Face mask rules introduced
Shops begin the re-open
Café’s serve outside
Pubs re-open
Long summer of rain
Distress
Nation is recovering

The schools return
All back to work
Furlough ends
Testing systems introduced

Then…
All again
Infections rise
Death toll increases
No tests available
Covid rages
Nation under threat
Covid takes us prisoner….

Alison Little

Listen to reading of Covid https://www.dropbox.com/s/v3l4d3ahljw8gps/covid.mp3?dl=0

Shrines through the Lens

Bluebell resize small (1)

Graham Smillie: photographer, has worked on numerous creative endeavours throughout Liverpool and a leading figure within the creative community. We address how his photographic practice took him from capturing the cities musicians to the road side shrines which divide our communities.

Graham established his photographic practice in embracing his passion for the music industry through capturing bands, his lens a staple at the famed Threshold Festival. Navigating towards the end of the last decade, BC (Before Covid), his creativity has led him towards social documentation and social engagement practices. Representing musicians became time capsule shots of deceased animals as a result of traffic accidents. Revolutionary new work evolved into what is currently the visual documentation of roadside shrines. Graham contemplates the process of forming memorials and their social impact through the digital lens.

The social impact of shrine creation through their visual capitulation. Their impact on where they are cited within the community in parallel to their digital presence in the rapidly expanding realms of the virtual world. The social and political context of photography and activism through creative practice.

His work also explores of the memorials he has photographed: attachments to trees, professional and traditional florist arrangements. Waterproofing methodologies, the use of imitation flowers and real foliage which often wilts rapidly. How self-built monuments develop and grow, seasonal and Birthday expansions. Variations between more rural roads and the city environment: high rise residential buildings and pedestrian barrier systems.

A photographer who delves into the impact of makeshift memorials. How they can divide communities, objected to by local residents and frequently removed. The health impact of marking the scene of a fatality, overcoming loss and disbelief.

Images:

Main: Bluebells

Above Left: Ben

Above Right: Tree

All rights reserved Graham Smillie

 

Grahamsmilliephotography

Graham Smillie