Monday, 13 July 2009

Me and Jimmy Corkhill

Jim Dine, 'The Studio (Red Devil)', 1958

I travelled to Liverpool on Saturday to visit the Tate Gallery’s exhibition, ‘The Uncertainty of Colour'. Although I like individually many of the artists exhibited such as Ellsworth Kelly, Jim Dine, and Gerhard Richter, I found the whole exhibition a bit boring if I’m honest. You sort of got the idea in the first room really-the idea being how artists have used ‘ready-made’ colour from commercial and industrial sources from the 1950’s onwards, rather than mixing or using colour for expressive purposes such as mood, light and atmosphere. There were so many ‘colour chart’ paintings on display that it all seemed to demonstrate a lack of imagination rather than anything else. Oh well…I did though find some inspiration in the Jim Lambie floor ‘painting’ with coloured tape, but only in the sense that it would be a quite groovy way to decorate my kitchen floor.

Despite the disappointment of this exhibition, there was a great sculpture show based on ‘Representations of the Body’ curated by designer Wayne Hemingway and his son. You picked up some headphones as you went in, and found yourself listening to some great disco as you walked round, though the idea was you were meant to dance around. There was even a big illuminated disco floor in the centre of the room to encourage you, and some of the sculptures were displayed on illuminated plinths and looked great. It all sounds a bit dodgy doesn’t it? But it was a refreshing change, particularly as the actual selection of art was so good too.

After a quick visit to the Bluecoat to visit their current exhibition, ‘The End of the Line: Attitudes in Drawing’, we ended up as we often do at The Everyman Theatre for lunch. It does great food, and increasingly seems more like our motivation for visiting this great city than the art. Later in the afternoon, when we were down by the famous Dockside, having just left the Tate, I passed someone whose green loafers caught my eye. I looked up and who did I see-only the legend that is Dean Sullivan, better known as JIMMY CORKHILL from Brookside fame! It made my day…

On the way home on the M62 driving through St Helens something caught our eye on a hill off the motorway. I immediately recognised it as the new public sculpture ‘Dream’, that has been built on the site of the old Sutton Manor Colliery, and that was recently featured on Channel Four’s excellent ‘Big Art’ series. Following directions, we pulled up and walked up to this huge sculpture which is a portrait of a nine year old girl that had a very ethereal quality. At over the height of five Double Decker buses it took your breath away as you approached it.

I found it really inspiring, placed in a wonderful location that overlooked an awe inspiring landscape. It made the whole day worthwhile. Well, that and meeting Jimmy...

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