FOUR Exhibition Preview: Cornerhouse, Manchester

Today we’re pleased to spread the word about the Cornerhouse’s latest exciting exhibition, FOUR. This latest show exhibits four new commissions specifically created for the event including work by Tristram Aver, Nicola Ellis, Kate Sully and Liz West. Curated and developed by Cornerhouse’s Young Curators team, three talented people from the Greater Manchester region, FOUR will feature inspiring and thought-provoking art that has been carefully selected from over 600 international applications.

Here, we ask each artist about their motivations behind the exhibition, what pieces they will be displaying, their inspirations in the art world, plus what they thing of Manchester’s creative community and their thoughts on today’s social media. 

Liz West

“This commission has afforded me the opportunity to develop my work and practice further and realise the full ambitions of this new piece. Combining past successful piece’s; my ‘Chamber Series’ and video work ‘The Visual Grey’ led me to think about using the construct of a Chamber housed within a wardrobe to create an illusion.

‘The predicament of in here and out there’ is a newly commissioned piece, referencing the domestic (a constant within my practice), using the vessel of a second-hand wooden wardrobe to allow the viewer a glimpse through a gap in the doors. Inside, they will see an endless expanse of yellow objects, glimmering and enticing the viewer to look further and notice the subtle movement from the objects within the video.

Image and artwork by Liz West. Copyright 2012

Repeated Everyday (2012) by Liz West

Artists who deal with light, spatial and immersive environments such as James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, or Olafur Eliasson as well as other practitioners who make work about colour and collections of objects like David Batchelor, Tara Donovan also inspire my practice. There are too many artists to name. As well as looking at well-known artists, I am continually searching for new inspiration, regularly coming across emerging artists making exciting and inspiring work.

Since moving to Manchester about 18 months ago I have felt that the artists community in the North West is helpful and supportive. Being part of a large studio group (Rogue Artists Studios) has been the most beneficial; I feel conversation and feedback from contemporaries is crucial when making work. Certain Manchester curators and galleries have given me their trust, which is a relief as I am making ambitious, sometimes temporary, large-scale work.

Being on social media is vital as an artist (or any creative). So many opportunities are communicated through social media networks, for example; conversations on Twitter have lead to me being given exhibitions. Being able to self promote online is much needed in our digital age, to aid the development of my practice and reputation, especially as an un-represented artist.”

Kate Sully

“My motivation behind Four was to have the opportunity to make new work and develop my ideas as well as being part of a group show that was curated by young people as I felt that it would bring something fresh to the exhibition and that has happened. Also being able to exhibit in Manchester at the Cornerhouse has been fantastic.

I am exhibiting 3 large scale pieces called Culture which are inspired by petri dishes and use a combination of materials such as digitally printed images and mixed media to explore ideas around growth and artificial cultivation.

The work of Helen Chadwick is a constant inspiration as she was very experimental and also used science as a line of artistic enquiry, also Anish Kapoor for his wonderful use of colour and form and Grayson Perry because he uses craft based techniques but creates work that is both interesting and challenging as its the quality of the idea not the choice of material that makes amazing art.

Image/ Artwork by Kate Sully. Copyright 2012

Doily (2012) by Kate Sully

Manchester is a great place to exhibit and have found lots of interest in seeing new work and there is a really positive vibe in the city and North west which is brilliant and would like to continue the relationship with the art world here.

Networking and social media play an important role in promoting my work as its way of reaching a large audience so have recently joined twitter to develop this further and have already got new followers and opportunities so need to do as much as possible.”

Tristram Aver

“The exhibition was an ‘Open Call’ to artists to propose a new body of work for display at Cornerhouse, Manchester, selected by their ‘Young Curators’. Based on my application, I was selected to be one of the ‘Four’ participants. This award has provided me with an opportunity to present an ambitious new painting for display in this prominent British gallery.

I have a triptych entitled The Chase (parts 1 to 3). It takes the form of three oval canvases surrounded by bright, neon light ‘frames’ which show an alternate view of contemporary Britishness and urban living, in the form of an adapted version of Richard Ansdell’s The Chase, a painting in the Manchester Art Gallery Collection.

Image/ Artwork by Tristram Aver. Copyright 2012 - 2013

The Chase (parts 1 to 3) (2012-13) by Tristram Aver

As I examine online Public Collections databases, inspiration can come in many forms and guises (it was pure happenstance that I came across Richard Ansdell’s paintings – see above), but Outsider Art is currently key to my work, alongside prominent contemporary painters such as Victoria Morton, Dan Perfect, Conor Harrington, Matthew Burrows, Ged Quinn and Pheobe Unwin, to name only 6.

As I am not based in the region, I can only comment as an observer; Manchester has a strong and supportive artistic community, rich in Public Museums and Artist-run galleries and studios, which in, is supported by its participants and piers. There is a thirst and enjoyment of the Visual Arts by the public, which can only bring more people like myself to the City more often.

Social media is free (for now) and a relatively easy vehicle to showcase your ideas to the world, promote exhibitions and let people know what you are up. Critical discourse and contacting other artists via Facebook and Twitter has become commonplace, and moreover, necessary; I have participated in shows curated by people I have never met through such twitter, and to great success!”

Nicola Ellis

“Being commissioned allowed me to make an ambitious piece of work in terms of size and materials. It also gave me the opportunity to have a new experience working with Young Curators and a large institution like Cornerhouse. My piece of work is a large sculpture encrusted with green, plum and blue Paddlestones named Peregro. This is a Latin work from ‘travelling’ or ‘walking through’. This is fitting because the structure is a bulky tubular body with 9 appendages and appears to be in a perpetual state of ambling.

In terms of inspirations, Phyllida Barlow’s sculpture and drawings never fail to motivate me. I also really love Rachel Whiteread’s drawings. Artists are just one source of information for me, a lot of my work comes from investigating the inherent qualities of materials that appeal to me and developing working methods to help me learn something new about them. For example, Peregro is primarily an investigation into how Paddlestones of that size and shape can cover an irregular structure. The art then comes afterwards if the object does something other than just exist as a pile of stones. This means inspiration can come from an aggregate suppliers yard, a DIY wholesalers or encounters with recycled materials during a visit to a new city. I also love Adam Marek’s book of short stories entitled ‘Instruction manual for swallowing’.

Image/ artwork by Nicola Ellis. Copyright 2012

Indentare Minor (2012) by Nicola Ellis

I enjoy living and working in Manchester which is necessary for me to be able to produce work. However I am ambitious and I intend to continue seeking out opportunities to make and show work throughout the UK and internationally.

Coincidentally someone commented on my lack of presence on Twitter today. They said all the other artists in the exhibition are being tagged in tweets apart from me because I don’t have an account, so my name just appears every now and then. I don’t really feel the urge to go and make a Twitter account just yet so I guess I don’t feel like that particular way of communicating with the public is necessary for me right now. I have Facebook and I use that to invite people to my own/other peoples exhibitions and events, and I think if Facebook can be a place where people can promote themselves and each other for free then that can only be a good thing. I get a lot of information from Facebook so I’d say that was my weapon of choice for dealing with news about events and exhibitions.”

See more on the Cornerhouse websiteFacebook and @CornerhouseMcr on Twitter.

One Response to “FOUR Exhibition Preview: Cornerhouse, Manchester”
  1. AE.Ritchie _ Art says:

    These pieces look amazing!

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