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HomeArt Review'Urban Codes' by Simon Mack at The Lauries, Birkenhead

‘Urban Codes’ by Simon Mack at The Lauries, Birkenhead

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Contact: 07773 788664

Review by Amanda DeAngeles

Now showing at: the Lauries Centre
142 Claughton Road
CH41 6EY

(Nearest railway-station is Conway Park)

Tel: 0151 652 1660

A modern art-space is set in a community centre, which opened in 2005. This dart-shaped building is a work of art and architectural delight in itself; inside you will find a spacious café and a suspended-sculpture. The piece is called “A Fresh Start” and is constructed from ‘persepex’ with woven ‘titanium nylon’…took ten months to construct by Karl Popper – a huge, winged and stringed feat of modern art, which was commissioned by the centre. A permanent home for this signature-piece sets the gallery space comfortably a world away from its counterparts across from the Wirral peninsula in Liverpool.

Here at Lauries, you may relax and enjoy a view of art in clean, classy surrounds, but don’t forget to find out what else is happening when you visit!


Simon Mack begins with a base of canvass or ply-wood. He uses spray-aerosols, stencils and acrylics alongside his imaginative, abstract-blending and found street-junk. At first glance you may feel the art is sloshed and stuck-together in great haste, however closer examination shows various mediums are intricately assembled.

You may think his style harks back to abstract-expressionalism circa 1950’s . . . think of Newman, De Kooning or Pollock. I sense more now from this artist’s work:

If you’re a little-bit-rural wanting to visit a little-bit-urban rocks (or modern beats) why not take a taster of the multi-faceted Mersey region? Peek past the paint, discarded bits of wood, posters, newspapers, and endless meaningless words stripped across the Liverpool side of the great River Mersey. Come visit the stuck-out tongue of Wirral peninsula.

Simon Mack invites you to spin around any cosmopolitan arena as though you’re in the back of a taxi and slightly inebriated. No vehicles, no direction, and no coherence with no one: nobody and yet this art embodies the soul of what is urban. The muted, favoured colours of this artist’s also belong to shadows and to concrete. A purple pollution descends across that theatre which is “CITY�?: a lonely, deserted urban mass of chaos. However, here amid the din, you will find flashes of soul.

Search for humanity in URBAN CODES Simon Mack presents. You will find them if you scrutinise his work. Have fun working out the puzzles (codes) of this well-ordered exhibition, and draw your own conclusions if you dare.

I stepped over unpleasant smells, heard mobile-phones, raved through clubs and imagined what lurked in doorways – tempting me to dodge across busy tarmac to the other side. Skateboarders ignored a line of scruffy fly-posters that the city council despises. A smattering of what is the real Mersey music-beat, frays upon boards in a few back alleys awaiting re-development.

My favourite piece of this exhibition is a token, fire-coloured piece: “D.I.Y.�? – this displays stencilled lettering of musical notes. A bright aqua-green tube stands in exclamation. Sound and light prevail.

Fast cash, abandoned love and city isolation are themes conveyed throughout. Some lines are clean in this cosmopolitan art, but most are ripped up or blurred.

Mack explores the contrast of what one might find while wandering through the city, in search of company before neon-nightlife hits you hard.

Simon Mack says:
“Before my solo exhibition ends @ the Lauries Centre, I accept my next solo art show at *artroom parkgate* (due in September). That’s before I follow up with the Liverpool and London galleries this summer . . .


Amanda DeAngeles Copyright © 22.03.2007

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