Typical! You wait ages for a work of art inspired by Duchamp’s ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’ and then two come along together! I’ve already mentioned Richard Hamilton’s work currently on show at the National Gallery, London. On Thursday evening I went to the opening of the Encompass Collective‘s exhibition “Conception” at the Gallery at St Georges House in Bolton.
“Encompass Collective are a group of artists based in the North of England, working across a wide range disciplines. ‘Encompass’ are committed to opening challenging lines of enquiry in visual culture. As exhibiting Artists, ‘Encompass’ are dedicated to the investigation of alternative platforms and curatorial strategies for the display of contemporary art, building new infrastructures and brokering new partnerships throughout the region and beyond.”
(I’m sorry but something, somewhere is tottering towards a nomination for the Bovine Doo Doo Award!)
Encompass Collective, as far as this show is concerned are Siobhain Moakes, Sharon Forrest, Valerie Halliwell and Tracie Shaylor. Siobhain is chatting on the left of this photograph. Behind her is “Primigravida (after Duchamp)” (available for £500). The colours above are truer than this shot of the painting which is pinkier.
Siobhain said that the title meant first pregnancy – she used to be a midwife – and it is of her daughter-in-law who was very pregnant at the time. I wasn’t sure if the ‘after Duchamp’ referred to ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’ or perhaps another of his works with which I was unfamiliar. Siobhain said it was a reference indeed to the staircase painting.
She also said that she knew her pieces were too big to be commercial but she was an expressive painter who liked painting big.
The information sheets stated that “[Siobhain’s] most recent paintings return to an interest in figurative work, looking at different ways the artist might alter viewer’s perceptions of people in social and everyday situations. Siobhain as used different ways of suggestion altered focus by indication of movement, confusion in colour register and distortion of image, reducing features to blurred out remnants or stylised lines suggestive of shape, form and movement.”
This is another of her works. I’m afraid I didn’t record the name.
The other artist I liked was Sharon Forrest who is “concerned with the exploration of personal, social and cultural memory … [using] works from archive photography, film stills and cultural source material.”
Here are two of her drawings. (She also had some solarplate prints.)
Valerie Halliwell’s “paintings explore women’s sub-conscious programming, fundamental beliefs, thoughts and feelings and question values such as; ‘Is womanliness purely about motherhood, the physical and sexual or does it also encompass the spirit and soul?’ … [Her] paintings seek to embrace all aspects of womanhood and aim to aid the viewer in seeing them on their personal journey into a deeper recognition and understanding of self.”
This triptych is called ‘Climax’. Having seen it, I would like to apologise to all the ladies I have known intimately in my life. I hadn’t realised what you were going through!
Unfortunately, the photographs of the fourth member of the Collective, Tracie Shaylor, were very dark and I was not able to record them. Also I understood neither the photographs themselves nor the written information about her, so I’m afraid I will have to pass over her work.
Emma Kelly, the curator both at the Gallery at St Georges House, in Bolton, and the Gallery at Bank Quay House, in Warrington, is producing some excellent exhibitions. And the nibbles on Opening Night are pretty good too!