Review of Peter Worthington ‘Waterfront’ at the Loft Space, Curated by Jo Derbyshire.
Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
Photography © Artist Peter Worthington 2007
Monday 19 February 2007
Peter Worthington has produced a series of pastel studies, an expression of sense and place of locales of the ‘Waterfront’ in Liverpool, England. This collection of images imbues a sense place and affection for the subject and the vibrancy of the palette cognitive of Worthington’s optimistic empathy with the culture of the city. His creative insight and vision comparative to his energies and passions as an activist in the city of Liverpool, acting as both artists and curator to enable others. This is significantly researched and managed through his gallery, the South Bohemian, on Smithdown Road, Liverpool.
The art by Worthington placed in the context of the Loft Space, a Curatorial initiative by Jo Derbyshire, combines the fundamental ethos to the concepts of art and space in an urban context. This is both in the setting of the art work and the theme in the images. From the urban constructs of this residential environment, Worthington extends the idealistic visualisations of time and place. The images are a sensitive and positive portrayal of scenes relative to the Liverpool’s waterfront, which founded the socio-economic and political history of the place and how ideologies of these have transformed in contemporary ideals to the people of the city.
Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney interviewed Worthington to understand further the creative objectives in these reflective representations and his role in the art community of Liverpool:
Sweeney: What is your professional background in the arts?
Worthington: I am an artist, but also a curator. I see myself as someone who promotes arts in and from the city of Liverpool. To make opportunities to other artists based here.
Sweeney: What inspired your collection of images at the Loft Space?
Worthington: I like the use of pastels, as a rapid impression can be produced or worked. This is dependent on my response to the subject. The subject of the scenes is one I am inclined towards, as it is representative of the city of Liverpool. I have a pleasure in creating them. It may be an idealised and view point of Liverpool I am trying to capture in these expressions, but Liverpool has a diverse history, which is colourful, multicultural. Sometimes extreme, but one which has been distinct and memorable. The pastels are an easy media to express functions and feelings more innately to the subject.
Sweeney: What response have you had from this exhibition in the Loft Space?
Worthington: The feedback on this series of work has been a positive one. People have enquired on the scenes depicted and the vibrancy of the colours. The correlation of the art in the space has raised enquiry too from members of the public and art community who have come to view the work in the Loft Space.
Sweeney: What do you think you art in the context of the Loft Space conveys?
Worthington: It breaks down the conventional barriers of how art should be viewed. Changes how my own art is viewed with a more diverse audience in an urban context. I feel the work, which is intended to be a shared experience becomes a social commentary.
Sweeney: What are your next professional plans as an artist and a curator?
Worthington: As an artist to learn from this experience in the Loft Space and develop my art further on the ideas of alternative space art is viewed and experienced. I enjoy what I do as an artist. As a curator, my principles have always been to enable a professional platform through my gallery, but plans are in process to further extend this with courses to be available in Curatorship to the general public. This is to make art and the experience of it more accessible to general community in the city.
During the transitions of the different projects and exhibitions held in the Loft Space by Derbyshire, the house itself has been undergoing renovation. Sweeney enquired further on the relationship of the transformations in reference to the concept of art in the Loft Space:
Sweeney: How do you perceive the transitions of the renovation in the house in conjunction as the Loft Space project is happening too? Do you find a similarity either in terms of function, process and rationale of cultural expression in urban spaces?
Derbyshire: I initially researched the house and found it was built by Welsh builders around 1905-1906 in the Edwardian period. I studied the arts and craft movement from the period and thought it would be good to install certain features from the period along side contemporary ones. As the Loft Space is going to be my art studio, I planned to allow people to show due to the lack of space available in Liverpool and the two projects became married together. Both projects will hopefully achieve a sense on completion as time goes on. The Loft Space is a form of social historical research in a visual art context. The renovation is this likewise but in an interior design capacity
Sweeney: Do you perceive the residential space a cultural annotation in itself?
Derbyshire: It is in a way using what you have got. The changes in the property market and access to buildings for exhibition as a cultural platform are now limited with the economic regeneration of the lead up to the European Capital of Culture 2008. The Loft Space of adapting a house while in process of renovation is a similar analogy to the regeneration experienced through out the city and moreover critique of concepts of cultural space for artistic expression. It fits with my research into interior design, art history and has a contemporary practicing art element.
Sweeney: What are the final objectives with this project (a) in terms of the Loft Space? (b) the renovation of the house? (c) comparative analysis of the two?
Derbyshire: The Loft Space will eventually become my studio and utilised in that way. It will have elements of time gone by from the Arts and Craft period. Art Deco period. I like Mackintosh’s work, so it a good thing for me to be able to do this. Furthermore, in recent years there has been a trend in DIY, so Arts and Crafts in one sense has become in vogue again with popularised goods, wallpapers, design elements, etc., available to the masses, that can be crafted by the people. I am not sure if things available today are as well made though. The overall impetus to this project is a fusion of analysing an interior design/art history/research project, i.e., renovation, and the other examining layers of When the City Speaks, which is the core theme to the Loft Space and a creative analysis of contemporary art in the city of Liverpool in an urban context.
The Loft Space Curatorial project by Derbyshire continues with:
18 February 2007 – 24 February 2007
The Place where we live -Andrew Hodge and June Rose H.
25 February 2007 – 03 March 2007
Jazamin Sinclair and Karen Henley.
Further information on the upcoming projects at the Loft Space, contact Jo Derbyshire (Curator of Loft Space Project) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07946353251. Viewing is by appointment (www.joderbyshire.co.uk).