Preston Reviews by Tony Knox


Preston Nights, Reviews of Openings: written by Tony Knox
Photography by Tony Knox

Preston has seen a recent list of activities lately kicked off firstly on the 24 January 2008 as the official opening of a state-of-the-art £15 million University of Central Lancashire ‘Media Factory’ a glittering red carpet event, Part financed by European Regional Development. The Media Factory will allow North West university graduates, budding entrepreneurs and small businesses to develop the skills they need to thrive in the global media economy and gives access to industry-standard performing arts and multimedia facilities offered via a dedicated business incubation centre based on the top floor of the building.

The Northern light’s incubation space has been transformed into a temporary gallery space; I was commissioned by the management team to curate THREE TO GO which features Tony Knox, Kevin Whittle, and John Robertson. ‘This was a great opportunity to network but I was two hours late and the red carpet was being put away by the time I arrived, to be greeted by jugglers for the Circus Skills Society I felt like I wandered on to a festival site and this was reinforced by the images of MothMan.’

Kevin Whittle a printmaker who was one of the artists selected for the Legacy project at the Liverpool Royal University Hospital last September, Whittle subject matter is inspired by nature.
John Robertson a Manchester based Photography who traveled through Europe showcases his journey on digital canvas

Friday 25th Two events that evening 1st Paradise: Work by Kutlug Ataman at the Harris Art Gallery Preston.
This is well worth a look, not only has it got a room, Stefan’s Room (2004) is a playful five screen installation about Stefan Naumann’s obsession with over 30,000 tropical moths which he has collected in his tiny apartment, I’m sure MothMan would like that room but been no sighting of him since early November.


Ataman was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 2004, his work was fluent and the presentation was slick, Turkish Delight (2006) is Ataman’s first performance piece and a semi-fictitious self-portrait. With Ataman in traditional belly dancing attire a single screen projection in a darken room it appears as though he’s dancing for you. Ataman elaborated that he was a bit heavier when he did that video piece, a good way to keep in shape, this engaging show is on till 26th April 2008.

Then swiftly on to the Nguzo Saba Centre for Plaited Fog ‘pFarty’ this One Night Only exhibition /Happening. Plaited fog are a group of practicing artists who work in a variety of disciplines, and who are all based in Preston or graduates. There was about 15 Artist’s a large selection where MA graduates of Uclan fine art programme, I was invited to come up with a new piece ‘Numeric Hopscotch’ in which I collaboration with Geeta Rao, this was an inactive installation where member of the public played hopscotch on floor to the music of the band.

Angela Presnail has an interest in how the found image evolves when translated into reductive line drawing regard her choice of materials of a Cardboard box inspired by photographer Nick Waplington living room (1990) book. Gaenor Deacon embroidery Book which drafts a figure she users hand knitting, cross stitch (see photo). Rebecca Chesney small detailed bee’s drawing where illustrated her strong technical abilities, artist James Robert Diable gave poetry rendition other artists Elaine Speight, Colin Binns etc


This was predominately a painting show with the exception of Stuart Carter photography prints of Formby beach, capturing the aescetic forms of nature. Stephen Siwiak and Colin Davis whose work is featured on Permanent display for future generations as part of the Transvoyeur ‘Legacy’ at the Liverpool Royal University hospital.
Siwiak art has explored portraiture through linear form to convey the objectivity of the subject, rather than the subjectivity of the sitter. ‘I have become interested in drawing heads, not as portraits representing personality or character, but as object rather than subject. I consider form and texture, juxtaposing darkness and light. Hard and soft. Movement and stillness. Deconstruction and reconstruction. Life, death and eternity, masculinity, identity and displacement’ Stephen Siwiak other artist featured Caire Bateson, Isobel Davy, Mike Hesketh, James Hallsworth & Christy Evans.

I felt as though the work was traditional and well executed it felt somewhat as though it would not look out of place in the 1988, this show was Curatorial assisted by Pete Clarke a Liverpool based artist and is the Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and MA Course Leader at University of Central Lancashire and one of the principle members of the Eight Days a Week Arts Collective, an international exchange programme between Liverpool (UK) and Cologne (Germany).