On the evening of the 25th May 2017, the John Lennon Art and Design Building in Liverpool opened its doors to welcome the public and showcase the vibrant work of creative individuals from subjects such as Fine Art and Fashion. Each floor offered something different, with a dark room on the ground floor, footage from the fashion catwalk show in the foyer, and an array of interesting and diverse works on each floor ascending from this point.
Being a third year student at LJMU myself, I am therefore exhibiting in this show and contributed to the construction and curation of the Fine Art degree show. This year, the top floor hosted most of the Fine Art work, curated as a fairly open plan, with the work guiding the audience around the space. The main room was dynamic in this way, as no two works were the same, yet the works complimented each other, resulting in a highly coherent show. Each piece also had its own space, with no overcrowding of oversized work, and each piece had its own space to breathe and speak for itself. This being said, some interesting juxtapositions were apparent. Most notably, the work of Vincent Quirk and Anna Houghton. With the two artists working with different styles, mediums and art forms, it seemed risky to put the works together in the space. However, the interesting aesthetic of Houghton’s work brought about a different quality in Quirk’s work. The pieces somehow seemed less static and geometric, with the colours and dynamism in Houghton’s work bringing about a state of dimension and depth to Quirk’s work. Where the audience would traditionally stand in front of Quirk’s paintings taking in their stature, Houghton’s work intrudes this assumed space, making it a space of exploration and interest.
On the ground floor of the building was the other part of the Fine Art degree show, which was predominantly a dark space for artists working with lighting, projections and digital work. The spaces on this floor were much smaller, with more divisions created separating artists. In this, there was one large space with partitioning walls and four separate small spaces for artists with installations and sound pieces. Upon entering the large space, the audience were once again directed around the room by the artwork, despite the dark space. Black paintings by Mel Smith situated specifically in the darkest point of the room drew the audience in, as they tried to understand the artist’s logic. The film I chose to exhibit then caught their eye, with its repetitive, yet therapeutic motions. The material of lard seemed to either entrance or repulse, and this seemed to gauge the perfect balance, as those entranced would be engulfed by the piece, and those repulsed would notice the entrance to the rest of the space.
Overall, the room had a good balance of projections, film pieces, digital work and even a torch-based piece. The artist Shaunagh Chilton encouraged the audience to explore the work in a pitch-black room with only torches as their guide. This put the processes of the work on a platform above the pieces themselves. The audience were free to explore the material and experiment with the shadows the work created on the walls. This also brought about the notion of audience interaction between the work and each other, which was a really positive and wonderful thing to see- that art can promote positive interactions and create new relationships, even if only in the moment.
Overall, the Liverpool John Moores University Degree Show did not fail to disappoint, and featured many interesting and must-see works which were curated in a sophisticated and dynamic way.
The degree show opening night was the 25th May 2017, though the show is open every day until 9th June 2017, excluding Sundays and bank holidays.
Featured Image: Photo courtesy of Sam Dobson.
Photo 1: Image of Anna Houghton’s piece (foreground) and Vincent Quirk’s piece (background). Photograph courtesy of Vincent Quirk.
Photo 2: Still-shot of Sam Dobson’s piece It Wasn’t Meant to be Like This (It Was Meant to be Like This). Photograph courtesy of Sam Dobson.
Photo 3: Close-up of Shaunagh Chilton’s piece. Photograph courtesy of Sam Dobson.