Last Monday night the Management and I went to Nexus Art Café in the Northern Quarter of Manchester for the opening of Origins, an exhibition in which I have two pieces. It was the lowest key opening I have ever attended. In fact it was really only minor things such as the fact that there were some nibbles on the bar and that the place was open after 7 pm, its normal closing time, indicated that we were actually there on the right evening. Most people there seemed to be ‘normal customers’ sitting chatting over coffee.
The Management (in the purple coat) sitting below my two prints
The exhibition is designed to coincide with the Manchester Science Festival. The brief was for work “that explores, recognises and celebrates the first events in our evolving universe. Examples could be events such as the first cloud of gas condensed to a droplet, the first carbon atom formed, the first amino acid group and protein synthesised, or the first time the cellular structure was closed to allow bio-life to start. Work could also consider more contemporary developments such as the first embryo fertilised outside the womb or the first computer that was switched on. We want the work to allow people to reflect on these beginnings, as well as the impact that potential future first events may have. “
There were only five artists showing with a total of thirteen pieces. I felt that while I had interpreted the brief closely, some of the others were a bit looser in their interpretation. One of my prints was You Will Be Here, which was, basically, a black blotch with an explosion representing the Big Bang in the centre and an arrow near one corner. (Sorry, photography was very difficult in the low light and all the works had reflective glass on the front.)
My other print was the first message sent by Samuel Morse along the very first telegraph line What Hath God Wrought. (OK, you pedants, I know it is in International Morse Code and not the original American Railroad Morse Code actually used for the message. I decided some people viewing the work would be able to read morse code, and would think I’d made a mistake.)
Jessica Miller had a valid interpretation of ‘origins’. She used macrophotography techniques to explore seed-containing objects, the seeds being the origins of those objects.
Charlotte O’Brien suggested that her work was related to Origins in her Artist Statement: “The process of drawing is a journey that begins as a simple mark and leads to an array of possibilities. Through layering and building up compositions I am able to use automatic drawing as a device to celebrate and reflect on the development and evolution of our galaxy and planets.” She then went on to discuss how the creation of our solar system had “inspired [her] to create drawings which are symbolic of this process.”
Rachel Richards combined Bible texts about the Creation from Genesis with ceramics in her works, sometimes adding text to the ceramic parts themselves.
Susan Plover, who is the Artist in Residence at Nexus Art Café, had a diptych which she claimed was about the Big Bang. The second of the pieces (shown below) was an abstract paper collage referring to the drapes in early religious paintings of the Creation.