Duo of emerging artists lead Warrington contemporary arts extended programme

Duo of emerging artists lead Warrington contemporary arts extended programme

Two emerging artists whose work is currently being displayed as part of Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (WCAF) are leading an exciting new programme of events and exhibitions.

Ellen Sampson and Holly Rowan Hesson are heading up a new year-long programme of events and exhibitions designed to continue the promotion of contemporary arts after the festival’s Open exhibitions come to a close this weekend.

Ellen has used film, photography and installation to explore the relationships between bodily experience, memory and footwear in her exhibition, Worn: footwear, attachment and affective experience, which is on display now at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

Fascinated as a child by the magical shoes in fairytales, Ellen trained as a shoemaker before becoming an artist.

Worn examines our relationship with and attachment to shoes, and suggests that through use shoes become records of their wearer’s experience and extended parts of the self.

She said: “By focusing on the shoe as an everyday object, and on the experience of wearing, I explore how through touch and use we become entangled with the things we wear.

“I look at how, through wear, our shoes become records of our journeys and lives, and how the marks upon the shoe, as traces of these experiences, can be read.”

Holly Rowan Hesson’s Echo, a projection and sculptural installation, creates dialogues with materials, memory and the physical space at Pyramid Arts Centre.

She said: “Through intuitive and process-led image-making, I create dialogues with material, sites and residual memories.

“This regularly starts with interrogations in specific man-made structures, buildings and physical spaces.

“Exploring uncertainty and transience, my work is concerned with the actual fragility and transitory nature of what seems solid, weighty and permanent, both physically and also in the way things are perceived.

“Using the visual language and formal concerns of abstraction, my resulting sculptural and installation work is multi-layered, often with uncertain depth of focus.”

Both exhibitions are on display until Saturday 27 January 2018.

Thanks to support from Arts Council England, Culture Warrington, the charity which runs WCAF, the museum, art gallery and arts centre, is now developing a year-round contemporary arts engagement and development programme, starting with Ellen and Holly’s exhibitions.

By working with partners from across the North West, the charity plans to commission local, regional and national artists to connect with Warrington’s neighbourhoods throughout the year, culminating in WCAF 2018.

Maureen Banner, Culture Warrington board chair, said: “While we look forward to Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival as an annual highlight it’s exciting to consider that this year we’ll have a new ongoing programme of events to keep the momentum going.

“With help from Arts Council England we’ll be able to continue bringing contemporary art to a wider audience by creating ambitious and inclusive projects.”

NB Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival is part of a wider calendar of events held across Cheshire in association with Slant, the county’s cultural destination programme.