Review: Home, at ArtsHub47

‘Home’ previews on Lark Lane

Words and pictures, Alison Little

Arts Hub second Annual Open exhibition opened in South Liverpool last week. Arts Hub is a small independent arts collective based at 47 Lark Lane. Opening as a Community Co-operative almost four years ago it has grown from strength to strength.

On the ground level, there is a shop space selling a range of goods: from crochet to hand carvings, from prints to paintings, from poetry to ceramic pots, from cards to music compilations. On the first floor, we have a gallery space which hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. All the co-operatives members are practising artists, writers or musicians and help to run the shop. The latest exhibition is based around the theme of ‘Home’ and there is everything from realism, textile-based media and social statement pieces.

The exhibition was hung in the true spirit of Lark Lane, ‘Back in five minutes’ notice being popped on the door while blue-tack was being brought. The Private View was held on the Friday Evening and attended by many, the exhibition opened to the Public from Saturday.

Oscar Yi Hou ‘ Portrait of an Artists Mother takes your attention as you enter the exhibition. His interpretation of ‘Home’ as an emotive subject is well defined:

‘My Mother was my home for nine months of part of which I now consider my home, not a physical place but any place with my Mother.’

This is an intense piece where he has added drama by contrasting blues and oranges, the shadows of the creases made by the fabric have been exacerbated for the purposes of the painting. The use of acrylics and painterly techniques lead us to the Mothers central face, a woman engrossed in her thoughts, not looking to communicate with anyone.

‘Palm House’ from Alison Little brings in some girly pink to the first-floor gallery. Alison explores new methods of combining fabrics and the use of freehand machine embroidery. We are presented with a mixture of patterns to create variations between flowers, cloud forms, foliage and the man-made structure of this iconic Liverpool Building. An almost grid-like form presents the Victorian structure, this is contrasted with the patterned fabrics used for the natural forms, combined with spiralling methods of embroidery she has produced this large-scale wall-based piece. The combination of colour, patterning and hard-edged embroidery techniques bring the white washed walls to life.

Central to the exhibition we have plinth based ‘Home from Home’ created by Susan Hartley. In this she presents us with four traditional Liverpool terraced houses using a variety of Materials and techniques:

‘Hessian and wire, laminated lace, thick wool blend and hand- made felt’.

The four forms combine well as a collection, free standing but with a look of fragility that cannot be paralleled. Beauty has been created from fabrics, such as sack like Hessian, which is often seen as simply a packaging material. Combining the fabrics with wire, embellishments and laminating technique we have traditional terraces intended for mass occupation presented as objects of artistry and clear leaders in the World of High-End Craft.

The textile artists, Alison and Susan, were joined by Kate Ellis and her magnificent ‘Threads of Home’. The painters were joined by the realism of Stephen Mahoney’ ‘Creature Comforts’ and the Oil based ‘A Summers Evening in Sefton Park’ from Keith Fearon. Barbara Hurst presented some well-framed prints and Dusk from Tony Kennedy brought in plenty of colours. Andy Smith’s ‘Smashed Community’ reminded us that things are not always ‘Pretty’ in this statement piece, finishing off with Jan Seers works were she combines painting techniques with mosaic. A ‘Must Pop in Exhibition’ which will run until the 25th of September.