Sunday, 7 February 2010


G drove me back up the M6 yesterday to see the Waterside Open. It's a varied exhibition which includes photography, surprising to me as this is often excluded from Opens. The emphasis was on kitsch pop arty type work, of which there were several very nice examples. I particularly liked an endearingly garish kitsch piece by Lisa Ashcroft. Other pieces in the pop art vein included paintings by Nichola Brockelmann andGemma Parker . There was a strong emphasis on crafts with some striking ceramic and 3d pieces and plenty of mixed media work. My favourite piece was Emma Louise Lloyd's open book with its intricately carved surface that reminded me of a relief map of a mountain range. I like work in which one thing is transformed into another, altering books is a whole genre in itself. This artist's work is an excellent example, no surprise that it won the Best In Trafford Award.

Third prize at the exhibition went to Steven Proudfoot who has 2 paintings on show, both very nicely executed slices of life that reminded me of stills from a 1960's kitchen sink drama. First prize went to Deborah Newbold's sculpture, this artist's playful/thought provoking title (from memory it's something like 'Death is not an end but the begining of a journey') made me think of Damien Hirst's shark.

I was slightly disappointed that my drawing wasn't hung in the main Lauriston Gallery but in the less obviously glamorous Gallery Bar, the gallery to the right as you enter the main doors of the Waterside Arts Centre, opposite reception. Huge windows take up the entire wall of one side of this long room facing the wall where the majority of the exhibits hang. Placing glazed work opposite a window obviously causes problems. When I visited it was sunny and many of the glazed pieces were difficult to see because of reflections. In the Gallery Bar however there are many excellent pieces, including some colourful embroidery by Doreen Caldwell with beautiful and intricate textures, and two lovely colourful floral watercolours by Gillian French which were hidden away in the corner behind another exhibit.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that my picture had been Highly Commended, and as only a handful of other pieces at the exhibition were Highly Commended I'm extremely pleased that the judges felt that my picture should share this honour.

All in all a very enjoyable visit to a lively and accessible art centre.

The wintry photographs on this page were taken at the National Trust owned Dunham Massey, just a few miles from Sale.

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