AboutâBeautiful Things' celebrates craft. This is a bold and simple statement, but it is a truism.
Contemporary art can be baffling, full of âconcepts' and big ideas. In the past, we have seen glitzy Post-Pop/Post-Modern work full of self-knowing and bristling with gimmicks.
Here, the curator and one of the featured artists of this show Richard Meaghan has gathered together a group of artists whose practice focuses on technical know-how rather than relying on flashy one-liners. In the main, Richard has selected painters, that very unforgiving medium, artists who have honed and finely tuned their technique to produce supremely confident and assured artwork.
Many of them are career artists, who attended the most prestigious art schools in the country, have won prizes and residencies and are now in significant collections and important museums. They have been written out and applauded in numerous art publications and are represented by some of the most exciting galleries in the contemporary art world.
âBeautiful Things' alludes to the fact that much of work on show will be on a smallish scale, little gems that might be overlooked in another context. Here, next door to the Tate Liverpool, we have an exhibition that brings some of the best London based artists combined with the leading lights of the North West arts scene, as Richard states:
My aim is to bring a little bit of that experience to Liverpoolâ¦â¦heading down the East End, a major gallery on the high street, a group of galleries in what was once derelict factory units and finishing off in a gallery above a pub.
This exhibition brings together an array of talent that can be viewed on one of these art-jaunts and mixes it with what's great in the North West contemporary art scene.
The artists featured in this exhibition include the following:
Phill Allen - Loose and painterly abstractions based on geometrics patterns and forms. Phill has a MA in Fine Art from the RCA and is represented by The Approach.
Gordon Cheung Fantastical and vivid landscapes and still lives, often set against a background of the stock market listings from financial newspapers. Gordon also has a MA from the RCA and is in the Whitworth Art Museum, Manchester and institutions in the States. His work can be found in the collections of UBS and Hiscox.
Masakatsu Kondo Beautiful imaginary landscapes sometimes set within an architectural framework or theatrical references. Masakatsu was born in Nagoya, Japan and graduated from Slade School of Fine Art. He has competed in the John Moores at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (1997 & 1999) and has had solo shows with David Risley Gallery (2007) and All Visual Arts (2012).
John Stark Highest quality painted realism with previous landscapes drawn from medieval reference in a quirky yet very contemporary context. John is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools and was featured in The Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4's New Sensations and The Future Can Wait curated by Zavier Ellis, Simon Rumley & Rebecca Wilson.
Neal Rock Sculptural installation combining wall mounted amorphic silicone & steel forms with more rigid space intersecting floor pieces. Neal was born in Wales and has a M. Phil in Painting from the RCA. He has been shown extensively and internationally and divides his time between London & LA. His work is found in the Zabludowicz Collection.
Dan Coombs Paintings constructed by a complex collage process, distorted nudes in invented surroundings, landscaped dream worlds and interior spaces. Dan was featured in Charles Saatchi's Young British Artists VI (1996). He has been exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and USA. Solo shows include âHeaven and Earth' at The Fine Art Society (2011) and âDreamers' at Fred Gallery (2009).
Iain Andrews - Highly gestured abstraction often relating to classical work making for luscious and even sensual painterly pieces. Iain was on the longlist for The Northern Art Prize (2013) and won 1st prize for the Marmite Painting Prize at the Bow Arts, London. Iain Andrews shows with Man and Eve in London.
Tim Ellis - Domestic and wooden objects manipulated into sculpture and installations. Tim has Post Graduate Diploma Fine Art from The Royal Academy Schools.
Aly Helyer Amorphous and hybrid creatures painted with impasto, producing primordial images of monsters and gods, unspoken urges of lust and desire. Aly has a MA in painting from Chelsea College of Art & Design. Aly has shown with Fold Gallery and Herrick Gallery.
Rui Matasunaga Rooted in folklore and ancient mythology, this work conjures the cosmos. Cartoons animals populate uncharted realms and primal cave dwellings. Rui was born in Japan and has a MA in Fine Art Painting from the RCA and BA from Central St Martins College of Art and Design. Rui was featured in the 2012 John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. She has been shown in highly regarded international exhibitions and was the Celeste Art Prize finalist in 2007.
Rafal Topolewski - Patterned surface of unusual views and objects, such as aerial landscapes, jungle scenes and trees. This work is textured and intriguing. Rafal has a BA (Hons) Fine Art Manchester Met University and was a finalist in The Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4 New Sensations and featured in The Catlin Guide 2013.
Henny Acloque - Medieval and folklore figures which are shrouded in mystery and strange rituals. Layers of paint and reflective varnish surfaces create symbolic motifs and small vignettes of something vaguely sinister. Henny has a BA Hons in Fine Art, University West England and won the Exeter Open. She has been featured in the John Moores Painting Prize at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and the Royal Academy Summer Show. Henny Acloque is represented by Ceri Hand Gallery.
Tom Ormond Illuminated painted structures set within industrial and constructed spaces. Sculptural elements and interlocking forms create a blinding vision of a future born out of a desolate past. Tom has a MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and has had a solo show with Alison Jacques and was featured in the Marmite Art Prize in 2011.
Louise Thomas Grand empty architectural painted spaces, evoking absence and a sense of loss. Portraits inspired Gainsborough and Sargent seen through translucent layers of paint and fluid brushstrokes. Louise has a BA in Fine Art from the University College, Falmouth and was shortlisted in the 4 New Sensations, organized by the Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4. Solo exhibitions include Bischoff/Weiss.
Wieland Payer - Monumental forest scenes with clear references to the great German Romantic paintings of Caper David Friedrich. We are in realm of wonder and the sublime, where the occasional figures are dwarfed by the spectacular landscape. Wieland has a MA in Fine Art Printmaking from the RCA. Wieland has a solo exhibition in London with Man & Eve and has been shown extensively in Germany. His work is featured in numerous public collections there.
Enzo Marra - Impasto monochromatic paintings with echoes of Freud and Auerbach. We have surreal and dark scenes amongst strong portraits. Marra holds a BA in fine art form Reading University and a MA from Brighton University. He was selected for the Threadneedle Prize and GFEST in 2010.
Alex Gene Morrison Colour plane abstracted paintings with geometric patterns. Alex also works in an animation and video. He studied painting at the RCA and then went to set up the Rockwell Gallery and Studios in Dalston. He has exhibited widely including The Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and Charlie Smith in London. His work was shown in the John Moores Painting Prize in Liverpool in 2009.
Jonny Green Vibrant and expansive work, incorporating contemporary subject matter into the idiom of history painting and specifically 1860's paintings by Albert Bierstadt and The Hudson River Group. The effect is powerful, drenched in comic irony, whereby a classical ideal is subverted by modern day reality. Jonny holds a MA in Fine Art Painting from the RCA and a BA (hons) from Norwich School of Art. Jonny has shown extensively as well being a professional musician. Shows include âCarpark of Earthly Delights' at Carter Presents and The Perfect Nude at Charlie Smith. His work appears in the collections of Deutsche Bank, Sony International and important private collections.
Matthew Houlding Incredible and retro-futuristic sculptures and collages, inspired by architectural forms and models. Matthew has shown widely in the UK and Germany with solo exhibitions at Ceri Hand Gallery, London and at the Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinarty Arts in Bath.
Richard Meaghan - Multi-coloured painted visions of other worlds, encounters with aliens forms, ships and creatures. These are a tongue-in-cheek take on our collective paranoia and conspiratorial musings. Richard is a painter's painter and the curator of this exhibition. Exhibitions include âOn The Brink' Liverpool Biennial, Brink, Liverpool, the Cornerhouse, Manchester and âBegin' FACT Liverpool.
James Quin Abstractions with movement of mark making and gestural brushstrokes. Bizarre takes on classical portraiture and removal of layers and identity. James holds a BA 1st Class from Sheffield Hallam University. He is the prizewinner for the Liverpool Art Prize 2010 and nominated for Northern Art Prize in 2012.
Kevin Hunt Sculptures made using found, redundant objects particularly furniture, which is then reconfigured into something new. Kevin holds a BA (Hons) Fine Art, North Wales School of Art and Design. Kevin has had solo shows at HELD, Liverpool Biennial 2012 and at Wolstenholme Creative Space. In 2013 he was shortlisted for the Liverpool Art Prize.
Joe Packer Raw and gestural marks to form abstracted forms sometimes set against structural devices. Joe produces dynamic and challenging paintings. He holds a MA Hons Fine Art, Painting, RCA and BA Hons Fine Art,Painting, Norwich School of Art and has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country.
Dave Evans Sculptural objects, sound and printmaking to produce work tackling issues around time and the history of the future. Dave is a Director of the Royal Standard, Liverpool and featured in the âFavela' show there last year.
Nicki McCubbing - Toys and reconfigured play objects form the basis for this work that reflects the dark humour that underpins these âhappy' objects. âNicki constructs pop-cultural tableaux which navigate the border between glamour and horror'. Nicki has shown in such shows as âHonky Tonky Show' The Bluecoat, Liverpool and âDouble Take' Mercy at the Liverpool Embassy, London (2011) and was featured in âGo On' The Co operative Gallery, Liverpool Biennial. Publications include The Liverpool Echo, Art Review and the Times.
Jason Thompson - Highly patterned, abstracted constructions built upon strong lines and symmetry. Jason has exhibited widely throughout the North West and was in John Moores Painting Prize (2010).
Andrew Foulds Recent paintings examine the value of belief by the building of his own wooden blocks and then ordering them playfully, in various arrangements Andrew develops a means by which he can navigate these questions of belief. Andrew holds a BA (Hons) Fine Art, Leeds Metropolitan University. Solo shows include âBamBamBam' at The Royal Standard Project Space, Liverpool.
Ian Rayer-Smith artwork about human consciousness, theatrical fantasy is explored in juxtaposition to the abhorrent and adult play. Here we have textured surfaces creates raw tension and energy. Ian is soon to graduate from the University of Salford's Visual Art Degree.