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Threshold Festival 2016: Featured Artists – Meg Brain & Joseph Cotgrave

The Threshold Festival of Music and Arts takes place 1-3 April 2016 in Liverpool’s Baltic area.
We are featuring just a few of the many visual artists taking part.
Today we have Meg Brain of MUESLI and Joseph Cotgrave of Trans-Pennine Art (TPA) as the two collectives are collaborating and exhibiting in Funf, Blundell Street.

Meg Brain & Joseph Cotgrave
Featured Threshold Artists #5

Words by Patrick Kirk-Smith for Art in Liverpool

The first weekend in April is set to be a busy one in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. From Hobo Kiosk to Constellations, this festival of arts and music is a complete take over of the area’s cultural and public spaces. What’s even more impressive is how it draws such a dedicated audience to the attention of Liverpool based artists, above and beyond its mission of public engagement.

Festivals like this always seem to overlook what’s actually happening. Local festivals that ignore the reality of local actions. Not Threshold, or at least not Alchemy – Threshold Festivals visual arts branch. This is a serious weekend to introduce everything current to a city that might not quite have had the chance to come across it yet.

One example of this is the collaboration between Trans-Pennine Art and MUESLI which has us on the edge of our seats. Two of Liverpool’s most active new groups, coming together in part of a festival that’s already struggling to contain itself with the sheer volume of events and venues. But how are TPA and MUESLI going to make it work?

One of the main draws to this exhibition will be the collaborative curation. It’s not new to have multiple curators working on one piece, but to explain in full I’ll try my best to break it down. MUESLI are a collaborative curatorial group made up of Meg Brain, Mia Cathcart and Zoë Coogan, working together to bring nationally significant art to small spaces in Liverpool. Trans-Pennine Art is a collaboration between Joseph Cotgrave and Pippa Eason, amongst many, many other artists from across the north of England. Now they’re collaborating with each other.

A map of that might start to look something like the Spaghetti Junction if they’re not too careful. But from what they’ve let me know, there’s an intricate plan beginning to form. Their exhibition will be a transformed space as a literal take on the festivals Alchemy title; transforming space and creating a relationship between it, and the art it conceals.

The collaboration sounds like it’s going to be ambitiously energetic and far from what you might expect from The Baltic Triangle, with the sort of energy that is generally reserved for the more hidden galleries around Liverpool. Raw and untamed art would perhaps be the soundbite to expect from this exhibition, but enough about how it’s curated. What’s being curated?

Well, for MUESLI, this is their first opportunity to show work together since graduating last year, rather than curating the work of others, so they’ll be going all out on this. Meg Brain, will be creating work in response to the space, and I dare say her counterparts Mia and Zoë will be too, in some way or another.

TPA curator Joseph Cotgrave has had a successful run of exhibitions in Liverpool recently, on his own and as part LJMU’s MA Fine Art programme (one of the few direct connections between TPA and MUESLI, as Cotgrave and Mia Cathcart are colleagues on this course). His practice focuses on HIV and homoerotic imagery which has a strong resonance with LGBT culture, but within that subject it is always installation focussed, giving him opportunities to consider how his work should function in every space it inhabits.

And that’s not all, Mia Cathcart, Zoe Coogan and Pippa Eason have to fit in with that somewhere too. If you want to challenge yourself as a viewer, and experience some of the most energetic curating ever to grace the Baltic Triangle, this collaboration-collaboration will be at FUNF, Blundell Street, between the 1st and 3rd of April.


Joe Cotgrave - TPA
Joe Cotgrave – TPA