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Review: Postcard Auction: Soup Collective at Roadworks

Postcard Auction: Soup Collective.  Saturday/Sunday 5/6 March 2016

at Roadworks at Road Studios

Words and photographs by Patrick Kirk-Smith

Soup Collective has been gathering momentum recently with some interesting local exhibitions, and an ever growing portfolio of international shows. Their most recent exhibition is the ambitious takeover of ROAD studios’ exhibition space; the first time ROAD has handed this space over to external artists (although by some strange coincidence one of the artists just so happens to have a studio there).

As the name implies this is a mixed collective, and the exhibition hasn’t strayed far from the mark, taking the visitor on a very short journey of theme and technique, both experimental and established. There are some artists you might have heard of and some you might not have. Some, in fact, are on their way to our very own featured artist spot, and some are making exceptional contributions to Threshold Festival 2016. It’s a mix of art students, graduates and very much established artists, so whether you take art soup positively or negatively, you’ll not have come across a soup with this many ingredients elsewhere.

The postcard element of the exhibition has been brilliantly documented by, Road Studios member, Kirsten Hawkins in a series of interviews about the relevance of the postcard in modern life, which I believe will be available on Road’s website soon.

The answers range from Collette Lilley’s, who hopes her postcards and her work, can “promote mindfulness in people’s daily lives” – suggesting that the world of politics could benefit from receiving a few of her postcards – to Michael Borkowsky who lives in a surreal alternate universe where “scent is our primary means of communicating.” And that really helps to sum up the relationships between the artists. One of the most interesting answers came from Joanne McClellan who, in stark contrast to the artists using their postcard to send a specific message, simply saw it as an opportunity to confine her work.

It’s an interesting approach for a gallery to involve themselves in an external exhibition that wholeheartedly, but it’s understandable as in the three years Road Studios have been in the Crown Building they haven’t hosted work by external artists or organisations once, until now. Perhaps this is an exploration into a more outward approach for the studios, but either way it’s an opportunity to see how others respond to their space, and these interviews provide an insight, from an outsider’s view, into how the insiders make sense of it.

Unfortunately, if you’re dying to see this in situ, you’re a little too late as most of the work has been bought into new homes and the rest taken back to the many homes and studios in which they were created. But given the rate at which the Soup Collective are developing new exhibitions, with two in Liverpool so far this year, we don’t imagine it’ll be too long a wait until the next one.

SOUP collective Facebook

Road Studios Website