Painting reigns strong at Warrington Arts Festival’s Contemporary Open

Winner Bex Ilsley's sculptural & VR installation 

Drawing in artists from across the North West, the Warrington Contemporary Open has grown into a large exhibition for the region. Housed on a stunning mezzanine floor in Warrington Museum it sets off the predominantly all-painting show perfectly.

There are a lot of regional artists that I recognise all with the requisite exhibition experience from Jason Thompson, Steven Heaton, Tracy Hills, Nathan Pendlebury, David Stanley, Jez Dolan and Ian Rayer-Smith amongst others so that it sets the standard naturally high. Each instil their own unique style from enamel painting, etching, spray paint, screenprinting to oils.

The few exhibits that stray from the norm immediately catch my eye including the winner Bex Ilsley's sculptural installation with virtual experience app 'Your Cities Will Shine Forever'. Its neon lights shine bright on the wall with intriguing effect. Closeby the tactile textile piece 'Wind. Solar. Wave.' by Amanda Lawton is the complete opposite experience with its touchy feely shagpile loom.

Tina Dempsey's ‘Untitled 2016’ mixed media wood structure has been incorporated neatly alongside the wall, perhaps losing some of its significance, but wholly pleasurable to look at amongst the sea of canvas work. The small wood fragments of text, colourful abstract paintings and illustrations combine together to seek her modern version of happily ever after… or is it. Continuing my search for something different brings me to an imaginative digital print by Sunday Jolayemi named 'Strategic Thinking Art: 3D Success Formula' a codified 3d dimensional piece with a formula for emotional, spiritual, physical and environmental enlightenment… this would take a lot of fun studying!

The enterprising title of Corin Trivass' silverpoint 'Time One - Lines Suggestive of Successive Static Positions to Create a Sense of Motion Through Time’ belies a quiet, transformative drawing. Jane Fairhurst’s beautiful glass dome sculptures (below) also have transformation at their heart in her quest to intrigue and confound.

In the downstairs museum gallery space are the quirky artworks by local art collective Woman Stanley, a retrospective of their last three exhibitions and I have to admit loving some of the bright, crazy embroidered illustrations. The Photography Open at The Gallery at Bank Quay House continues in its quest to find the best regional artistic photographers and winner Steve Deer's 'The Birds' is a masterclass in light, composition and timing. There are some really interesting images in the Open, Bel Shaw's effective use of leading lines in 'No Way Out' is structurally compelling whilst I just adore the blue and red colour overlays in Rebecca Roger's 'Star & Garter'.

As the main painting show has now ended we'll just have to wait to see what the judges pick next year... so in the meantime here are a selection of photos from the exhibitions.

Warrington Open

'Strategic Thinking Art' by Sunday Jolayemi


As the title states...

'Home of Natural Silence' by Steve Heaton

Bottom left - 'As Like A City Thru A Mountain' by Jason Thompson

'Temporal Wandering' by Tracy Hills

'April 2015' & 'July 2016' by Arthur Roberts

Runner Up - 'Face Furniture (self portrait) by Peter Davis

'Upside Down Smile' by Nathan Pendlebury

'Untitled 2016' by Tina Dempsey

'Wolfenden' by Jez Dolan

'Your Citizen Will Shine Forever' by Bex Ilsley

Left - 'Blush' by Charlotte Silt & Right - 'Thassos' by Ron Coleman

Ian Rayer-Smith next to 'IDEA' by Ben Betney

Photography Open

Left - 'No Way Out' by Bel Shaw

Runner Up - 'The Boathouse' by Emma Shaw

Winner - 'The Birds' by Steve Deer
'Star & Garter' by Rebecca Rogers

The Photography Open is still on for one more week!

Warrington Contemporary Open
Part of Warrington Arts Festival 2016
Warrington Museum &
The Gallery at Bank Quay House

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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