Sunday, 27 November 2011

Father – Wolstenholme Creative Space, Liverpool

Laying my cards on the table, this is based on what turned out to be a very brief visit to Wolstenholme Creative Space. I had intended to spend some time getting to 'know' the work as it were. Well that was plan, after arriving at the WCS and surveying what was on offer things changed. At a glance the exhibitions feels slight but never judge an exhibition on quantity alone.

I look at a double buckled belt on a plinth, its well-made, I perhaps lazily think that it has something to do with the authoritative figure of the father. It doesn't inspire me to explore further into it.

Then on to a series of large photographs in which a grotesquely swollen headed figure sits in a pile of debris. Though the grossness of the image is strangely appealing, I get the impression that I'm looking at documentation of something else. Where the unease suggested by the images manifests itself into something more visceral.

Opposite these there are five printed letters, something to do with a paternity test? I don't know I begin to read them but begin to lose interest especially when it turns out all five framed letters are the same. Expect for one which read something like 'stop sending me letters'. I don't know what the point was here nor do I care. If it were to bombard someone with these letters I hope you sent more than five.

In another space there is an old school style arcade machine which has been farting out its 8 bit music since I've been in the gallery. For some reason I don't play the game.

What else is there? Well there are tiles of jet carefully etched with things like 'The Tree of Life'. The seductive materially surfaces of these objects, well remains on the surface and I feel that I've seen this kind of thing before. Occupying the same space are banners on which has been printed a poem, I like the poem but when presented in this manner the words feel flat. Behind that there's a suit on a plinth.

The overall sense I have about the exhibition is my inability to engage with it. In an exhibition whose underlined theme is the father figure, that figure seemed absent. Maybe a better understanding of the individuals context and the process might filled this gap but you still need to engage the audience in order for us to want to delve a little deeper into the work.

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