The Loft Space – ‘On The Waterfront’

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Review of ‘On the Waterfront’ by Artist Irene McLoughlin, Part Loft Space Project, Liverpool, England.
Written by June Hobson, Photographs from Artist, Irene McLoughlin..
28 January 2007

Irene McLoughlin’s photographic exhibition gives an interesting view of various ports, especially the on the banks of the Mersey taken over many years, it is clear that the changing face of the waterfront holds a fascination for her. The major point about McLoughlin’s work is that it shows a very personal aspect of the Mersey, and other ports. The Mersey dock areas hold a very personal association for her, her father worked on those docks. She herself worked on the boat to and from Ireland for a time when she was a young woman. We see one picture of her standing proudly on a ferry, a famous part of Merseyside history.

So as the face of Merseyside changes, McLoughlin’s is drawn to record that change, especially as the work is in progress. We see the cranes changing the skyline forever. McLoughlin would describe herself as an observer, rather than an artist, she has flair, the photographs show what she considers worthy of pictorial record. Not necessarily what a more traditional photographer would submit. This fits tidily with Derbyshire’s concept of When the City Speaks, as McLoughlin becomes a social historian of sorts.

Included in the exhibition were photographs from various artists including Karen Henley, Rob Davies, June Rose H, Carolyn Sinclair and Jazamin Sinclair. Their work shows various cities and waterfronts that contrast against McLoughlin’s images. Davies has submitted images of the Waterfront in Falmouth in contrast to Henley’s photograph of Liverpool’s City Centre. Movement, colour, changes and contrasts are evident in the work.

There are painting elements to the exhibition. Jo Derbyshire’s abstract painting and photographs also feature, depicting the waterfront and skyline in a unique light; the waterfront is ever present in Derbyshire’s work. George Lund has included several paintings and drawings. His style is as colourful as it is varied, although his ‘Waterfront , Mersey Docks and Harbour Board’ exhibition entry (4ft x 3ft approx) from 2003 is an a fine intricately detailed work in black and white unusually. Crowded with images, the energy comes through. The rest of his work is colourful. His ‘Merseylife 2007’ shows the spirit and energy of this vibrant city. He captures the atmosphere, and the history of the waterfront, experimenting with alternative materials in this piece (felt pen on synthetic canvas), and has a natural affinity with the subject. Here showing the history of the Mersey in some of the many types of ships that have sailed there. This highlights the cultural diversity of Liverpool, and its spirit and energy.

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