On 27 October I attended the opening for the latest exhibition from the three amigos of the local contemporary art world, the curators from Venn Project.  This time, the boys (Joseph Pelger, Garth Gratrix and Tom Ireland) put the invitation out there for local talent to submit a piece of art in the open exhibition entitled West Side where our creatives  would showcase work inspired by the North West.

Although some of the work on display holds a sense of predictability about it, this doesn’t mean it lacks quality, far from it. Because we are so familiar with some of the images, our focus is shifted to the strength of the creation of the work. So, in works like Katie Eggleston-Wirtz’s ‘Winter Gardens’ and Adrian Pritchard’s ‘Blackpool Tower Flux Capacitol’ the power and consideration of the construction/design/form of the work really shines through.

Standout pieces from the show have to be William Titley’s ‘Time Gentleman Please’ and Carolina Feng’s ‘The Faces’.

Lanacshire-based lecturer Titley’s piece appears to blend the influence of our abundance of neon signs and the popular pigeon fancier weekend. He presented us with a pigeon box which emits sound and has flashing neon with the words ‘Tic Toc’ attached to it.

The contrast between Titley and Feng’s pieces couldn’t be more different; the brassiness of neon is replaced by something more gentle in Manchester-based illustrator Feng’s work.  A plinth as white as the driven snow holds Carolina Fengs ‘Faces’ which are made from porcelain paper, each representing deaths of loved ones in her native village. I felt that they held a quality of repetition a lot like the Illuminations, with an eery yet beautiful daintiness about them.

Other work on display included Gary Constantine’s ode to our thriving LGBT community with his cheerful ‘Blackpool Pride’ painting. And Denise Keen-Junk’s ‘Festival of Colour’ had the print oozing every drop of our glorious summer.

A tip of the hat once again has to go to the curators. The space they use is a typical sterile modern office/meeting space but they manage to transform it into a well considered contemporary gallery.  West Side is a must-see open exhibition featuring an abundance of local talent that runs at FYC until 21 November 2014.

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