Contemporary art & Installation inspiration drives forward in the Warrington Open

Warrington Arts Festival is a central hub between Manchester, Liverpool and Chester meaning it's perfectly placed to take advantage of the huge creative talent existing in the North West. The Festival focuses on both painting and photography in two separate venues featuring many fantastic pieces by local artists and photographers showcasing a depth and quality of work across the mediums.

I was so impressed with the range of art techniques used by the artists particularly in printmaking. There were several eye-catching prints in the Open and one example were the bright, distinctive prints by Hazel Roberts 'The fog of facebook' and 'The fog of facebooking consensus-based opinions' are abstracted collaged screenprints with a dash of typography. Hazel's influences come from the art periods of Dada and Bauhaus and you can tell with her playful reiterations of a social media phenomenon - both childlike and conceptual in form.

This year's Open winner is Tracy Hill, a Manchester based multi-disciplinary artist with commendations for two pieces of sublime hand-drawn works – a charcoal on Kozo paper called 'Cognitive Surveillance II' and 'Matrix of Movement II'. A series of six weightless, transparent lithographs which if not tethered to the wall feel as though they would float through the gallery space landing silently on the floor in perfect unity. “They explore perceptions of mapping, digital navigation and how we encounter our rural spaces connected with a modern obsession for locating, ordering and fragmenting our experiences.”

A beautiful masterpiece of photography titled 'Bamburgh' by Robert Watson won the Photography Open and you can see why. Its commanding composition is softened by the atmospheric beauty of the mist rising between the rocky coastline. A true masterclass is perfecting the motion of slow shutter speed to create a dreamy effect.

Showcasing alongside the Open is Bex Ilsley's exhibition 'Emotional Processing', as last year's Winner she returns with a digital and sculptural installation looking at her body and performance in the digital realm. An exciting look at her latest work combining mixed media materials, film and sculpture to create other worldly realms of ourselves... similar to those made (or curated) by in social media such as Instagram.

Another specially commissioned installation titled 'Echo' from Holly Rowan Hesson resides at The Pyramid Arts Centre just around the corner from the Museum. Exploring and decoding the visual, Holly creates dialogues with materials, memory and the physical space. The architecturally urban, dark grey environment at the Pyramid is a great place for her work as it makes you look at it in infinitely different ways. I'll write a new blog on these two installations soon as I want to go back for a second visit!

Announcing the winners...

Hazel Roberts

My work 'Invisibles Lines'

Tracy Hill - Open Winner

Robert Watson - Photography Open Winner

Bex Ilsley

Holly Rowan Hesson

Warrington Contemporary Open
Warrington Museum
On until Sat 28th October

Echo: Holly Rowan Hesson
The Pyramid
On until Sat 28th January 2018

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


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