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Review: Skywriter: Vs vs Stephen Poleskie

Skywriter: Vs vs Stephen Poleskie
1.11 Residency
(LJMU Residency Space at The Royal Standard), 13th April 2017

Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith

Ahead of the final exhibition as Vs, we took a trip to the 1.11 Residency space at The Royal Standard. You might remember MUESLI or 6GINS through 2016, made up of LJMU graduates focussing their efforts on developing as curators and gallery managers. The third incarnation, and the first at Northern Lights, comes under the title Vs.

Vs pit their curators against artists to tackle key issues in each other’s work. It’s an intriguing premise for a project led exhibition space and keeps a neat line of progression into an ever more collaborative effort on the LJMU residency programme. 6GINs were fairly flexible with the space, but engaged as artists as well as curators. MUESLI were more laid back as curators, but incredibly involved in planning. Now, Vs seem involved at every stage.

Their penultimate exhibition, Skywriter, draws on the work of internationally acclaimed artist Stephen Poleskie, who collaborated on the exhibition remotely from the United States. The artist has had an incredible career, with work included at Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Neuberger Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Gallery, London (to name a few). For the curators this must’ve been pretty daunting, but it gave them a chance to respond to something incredibly special in entirely their own way.

Working with Poleskie’s ‘Aerial Theatre’, in which the artist flew a biplane trailing smoke to design temporary images in the sky, Vs interpreted the gentle faded visuals in Stephen Poleskie’s work with a focus on the gentle, delicate contrasts between the smoke and sky.

Using polythene and paint, the curators, Lucy Moxon, Ryan Watkins and Dan Smyth, have tried to recreate an element of cloud in their own temporary gallery space in the heart of The Royal Standard. An inviting hanging installation full of snippets and hints at Poleskie’s life and work is the result.

The next, and final instalment of Vs opens this Friday at The Royal Standard, Northern Lights, before being taken over by the next set of LJMU graduate artists. The residency has proven to be a great platform for all its residents, and for the last two at least, the final instalment has been a great summary of how successful they feel they’ve been. On Friday 28th April 2017, Vs presents work by its curators, Lucy Moxon, Ryan Watkins and Dan Smyth in a Vs vs Vs kind of show that promises to be a truly reflective goodbye to their temporary home.

The launch event is 6-9pm and is open at the same time as two other new exhibitions at Northern Lights, Cains Brewery Village.