The Long Read: Interview with Hanna Rose Shell
The Long Read: Interview with Hanna Rose Shell
13 August 2021

You may already know what ‘shoddy’ is, or perhaps you use the word to describe a badly done job, like hanging a shelf that can fall down at any second. But there is a whole other meaning to shoddy, and one that, to Hanna Rose Shell, has opened up a whole new world of textile history and research.

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All in the Hands of the Viewer: on art and activism
All in the Hands of the Viewer: on art and activism
for Contemporary Lynx Magazine
29 July 2021

Before members of the UN summit in 2003 sat down to debate whether or not to engage in a war against Iraq, the tapestry reproduction of ‘Guernica’, which was usually the backdrop to events held in the building, was covered up. While the gesture was dismissed as a practical necessity, it still perfectly illustrates that Picasso’s activist gesture continues to hold power 80 years later.

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‘Dark Days Luminous Nights’ from Manchester Collective – reviewed
‘Dark Days Luminous Nights’ from Manchester Collective – reviewed
Published Online - The State of the Arts
9 June 2021

I lived in Manchester for years and now come back very often to see my family. It’s one of a few places that feels  like home – there is a familiar warmth, even a cosiness despite its size and continuous rapid growth, bulging out of the old boundaries. When I heard about ‘Dark Days Luminous Nights’, the product of a collaboration between Manchester Collective and local artists Simon Buckley and Blackhaine, I jumped at the chance to see the city I know so well from a fresh, audio-visual perspective.

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Last chance to see: Jonathan Baldock ‘Facecrime’ @ the Bluecoat
Last chance to see: Jonathan Baldock ‘Facecrime’ @ the Bluecoat
13 October 2020

Let’s dive right in: Jonathan Baldock is one of those artists who effortlessly manages to marry ideas with a proficiency in his chosen medium that allows him to communicate both clearly and beautifully. His current show ‘Facecrime’ at Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery was my first chance to see his work in its clay flesh. I initially encountered the artist at a talk he gave in the same gallery a few years ago – I was completely enamoured with the way he talked about his work: it was accessible, witty, and most importantly, funny.

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Glitch and Glamour: On Blockbuster Exhibitions
Glitch and Glamour: On Blockbuster Exhibitions
for Contemporary Lynx
1 July 2020

Claude Monet, Lucien Freud, Amedeo Modigliani… you’ve heard of these artists, right? The largest museums in the world know that you do. And, if you’re reading an art magazine, chances are you’ve also encountered them through these museums’ key money-making activity: the blockbuster exhibition. There may be museum nights and virtual tours but there’s nothing like a famous name, glistening in bright letters to draw the crowds in.

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Heavenly ramen
Heavenly ramen
19 June 2020

The best ramen I have ever had was in Amsterdam. Thick silky noodles, milky-tea-coloured broth, a crispy slice of seaweed. Egg yolks bursting and sliding down chunks of spicy kimchi, like the heavy rain drops sliding down the window panes of that dingy, cosy restaurant. The silence between me and my boyfriend would usually bother me, but at that moment food filled this silence to the brim. My hair was wet from the rain, the steam was warming my chin, the glazed bowl was beautiful and my throat was burning with joy. That first unforgettable mouthful is my happy place.

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A love letter to lemons
A love letter to lemons
19 June 2020

Every few weeks I experience an unbearable, unexplained urge to taste sour things. Sour sweets are too sweet so I put lemon juice on everything, suck on limes when working and carry emergency slices around with me wrapped in foil, in case it strikes again. Nothing is sour enough, nothing can fully satiate the need. It feels like I can’t take in a full breath until the acid hits my tongue.

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The Long Read: Convenience Gallery
The Long Read: Convenience Gallery
19 May 2020

I have been planning to chat with the Convenience Gallery team for a few months now, I suppose you could say it took a pandemic for us to finally arrange a Zoom call. We talked on a beautiful, sunny afternoon and the timing was actually perfect. We all left uplifted: by the sight of each other in the little rectangles on our screens; by talking about art and creativity; and briefly looking forward to the future, when we will hopefully be able to have a glass of wine together in the same room.

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“I can’t be talking to scientists and not have a clue!” – Gabriella Warren-Smith on curating
“I can’t be talking to scientists and not have a clue!” – Gabriella Warren-Smith on curating
12 May 2020

Gabriella Warren-Smith is a Liverpool-based curator on a mission to find out how new technology, or more specifically, handheld devices are affecting how we perceive art and, more broadly, how they they touch our lives (and brains). Over the past year, Gabriella has been organising events and writing essays for her project ‘Cognitive Sensations’ which focuses on the neurological and psychological effects of regular technology use and aims to spark discussions about these issues between artists, scientists and the public.

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Squirrels, blossoms and a breeze: in praise of my window
Squirrels, blossoms and a breeze: in praise of my window
4 April 2020

We know what’s happening – there’s a pandemic, we all have to stay home to keep ourselves and others safe, so I will spare you and myself the lengthy intros that writers seem to love recently, even though we’re all living through the same terrifying and strange time in history. I’ll get straight to it – I am incredibly grateful for my living room window. Daily nature observation has become the highlight of my day, every day.

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(Perceived) control – do digital technologies enhance our sense of control in everyday life?
(Perceived) control – do digital technologies enhance our sense of control in everyday life?
4 November 2019

Have you ever wondered why you check the weather every day before you leave the house? Why you use step-counting apps? How many to-do lists do you currently have, with tasks pending endlessly, from one week to the next?

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“I intend to get my message across with irony and satire” – artist Joana de Oliveira Guerreiro
“I intend to get my message across with irony and satire” – artist Joana de Oliveira Guerreiro
22 October 2019

Joana is a Liverpool-based artist with more energy than a honey bee in the middle of the summer. Her creativity is a powerful force and paired with a critical eye, the resulting work is memorable to say the least. We caught up in her loft appartment/ studio, surrounded by piles of large-scale canvases and lush plants in the evening light.

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Act now! Environmental activism in art
Act now! Environmental activism in art
for Contemporary Lynx
1 September 2019

At a time when recycling plastic bottles is no longer enough to ease a guilty consumer’s conscience, being an artist makes one responsible for using the creative platform with a renewed purpose. Indeed, environmental activism is a path that many artists choose with varying approaches and techniques and those who do, are, individually or collaboratively, questioning the polluting status quo, offering alternative solutions and joining in the fight for changes in policy.

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MIF19: ‘My Head is Disconnected’, David Lynch @ HOME
MIF19: ‘My Head is Disconnected’, David Lynch @ HOME
3 August 2019
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Overload: Broken Symmetries @ FACT
Overload: Broken Symmetries @ FACT
7 March 2019

This winter FACT Liverpool premiered ‘Broken Symmetries’, an exhibition resulting from a collaboration between the gallery and CERN laboratories’ growing arts programme.

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Fresh sensations  - newly discovered senses and their use in art
Fresh sensations - newly discovered senses and their use in art
for Contemporary Lynx
15 January 2019

Imagine yourself standing in front of an artwork. What do you see? There is a high probability that what’s appearing in your mind’s eye requires exactly that - seeing. Among the five basic senses, sight is that which is utilised the most, given that so much art, old and new, relies on a flat surface, colour and line as the chosen means of communication.

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 “Are women drawn to thread or are they pushed towards it?” Anni Albers – Reviewed
“Are women drawn to thread or are they pushed towards it?” Anni Albers – Reviewed
29 November 2018

It isn’t every day that artist’s equipment takes centre stage in one of the biggest fine art galleries in the country. Usually, the posters – emblazoned with a big name in that legendary Tate font – draw us in with a recognisable and prominent piece of art, compelling you to save the date in your diary.

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Shapely calves and tiny waists: 18th century fashion @ the Walker Art Gallery
Shapely calves and tiny waists: 18th century fashion @ the Walker Art Gallery
5 September 2018

The most recent fashion display: Dressed to Impress – Fashion in the 18th Century at the Walker Art Gallery inspires two parallel emotions: awe at the craftsmanship and intricacy of the pieces in the show; and gratitude that we weren’t born in an age that requires corsets (ladies) and padded stockings (gents) for those shapely waists and calves. Maja Lorkowska talked to Pauline Rushton,  Senior Curator at National Museums Liverpool to find out more.

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A Not So Innocent Game: Playfulness in art
A Not So Innocent Game: Playfulness in art
for Contemporary Lynx
25 January 2018

Play is essential in our development. Not unlike animals, as children it is a way for us to prepare for more serious applications of the skills acquired during play. As adults, it is an incredibly effective way for us to test out and approach subjects which would otherwise be difficult to face. Freud theorised that laughter is caused by released inhibitions while Surrealism, Dada and the significance of nonsense in art creation is said to have emerged after the trauma of war to ‘tame the savageness of life’. So the question remains – if fun has so much significance, how is it manifested in the art of today?

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Open 3: Affecting Change, Interview with Yetunde Adebiyi, Adam Mazen & Theo Temple
Open 3: Affecting Change, Interview with Yetunde Adebiyi, Adam Mazen & Theo Temple
17 September 2017

It’s the last few weeks of ‘ Open 3: Affecting Change‘ at Open Eye Gallery, so if you need any more reasons to come along, we reveal a little bit more about some of the work on display.

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The ‘thinking-business’ @ The Royal Standard, Liverpool
The ‘thinking-business’ @ The Royal Standard, Liverpool
26 May 2017

Collaboration is defined as the action of ‘working with someone to produce something’. The current exhibition, ’The thinking-business’, at The Royal Standard ponders this matter on multiple levels through the works of Paloma Proudfoot and Rebecca Ounstead. Collaboration is explored as a tool of production and the artists’ respective techniques while focusing on the development of friendships outside of their professional lives.

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 “Look and think twice”: How Much Of This Is Fiction. – Reviewed
“Look and think twice”: How Much Of This Is Fiction. – Reviewed
10 May 2017

While I’m usually apprehensive about using the phrase “post-anything”, FACT’s current exhibition How much of this is fiction. really does home-in on the all-pervasive doubt surrounding our absorption of new, and post-truth, information. It comes post-Brexit referendum and post-Trump election, without ever addressing either of these events directly. While they may be alluded to in the mind of the viewer, the show focuses on exposing the techniques used within popular media to manoeuvre the audience’s thoughts onto a certain path. The artworks pose as dystopian alternatives to actual events, and we get the fun job of applying them to our own experiences of truth.

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 “Making them visible” – Yan Preston On Photographing Liverpool’s Chinese Community For LOOK/17
“Making them visible” – Yan Preston On Photographing Liverpool’s Chinese Community For LOOK/17
27 April 2017

Artist Yan Preston is on a mission. A photographer born in Central China, she has taken on the challenge of representing Liverpool’s diverse Chinese community for this year’s LOOK/17 photography festival.

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“Nervously looking forward”: Liverpool Biennial’s Flashback Episode — Reviewed
“Nervously looking forward”: Liverpool Biennial’s Flashback Episode — Reviewed
19 July 2016

If art’s role is to challenge rigid definitions, Liverpool Biennial’s sporadic format this year doesn’t disappoint. Sharing the omnipresent theme of Time Travel and broken into six smaller “episodes”, including one called Flashback, Biennial 2016 has presented works which might toy with the past, but hold painful relevance in the present context.

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FYI: Rory Macbeth × Institutional Collaborative Systems
FYI: Rory Macbeth × Institutional Collaborative Systems
for Corridor8
24 March 2016

For most artists technology and networks are tools in the creative process. But for Rory Macbeth the ultra-logical, technological partner is a perfect collaborator. In the one-night show ‘FYI: Rory Macbeth × Institutional Collaborative Systems’, the artist used automated administrative systems to produce an engulfing experience.

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