Tuesday, 28 January 2014

'Seeing The M6 In A New Light...'

A review of ‘Black Highway’ by Jenny Chamberlain has been doing the rounds in the region’s local press, and has now featured in the Birmingham Mail, Coventry Telegraph, and The Metro, the free newspaper to be found on all the local buses. I did provide a link to it in my last post, but these links are often short-lived, so I thought I’d paste it onto the blog too. Although it’s a very positive review, I don’t think it’s that well-written, but I do think the reporter obviously visited the show from the descriptions of certain artworks. It’s great, and very valuable, to get such far-reaching publicity. (It’s sort of funny but the image used however, is a painting (‘Weird Nightmare’) that is not now in the exhibition, as I recently sold it. It must have been sent from the gallery from my original application. I’ll add a different one for this post). 
Seeing The M6 in a new light

See'Artist Shaun Morris has been inspired by the Midland's motorway network

Most of us see motorways as a necessary evil, and only see them from above.But one artist has gone below to paint them as glorious landscapes.

Shaun Morris’s exhibition, Black Highway, at Nuneaton’s Museum and Art Gallery, is made up of oil paintings and pastels done in the past two years.

Shaun is from West Bromwich, and now works in Birmingham as an artist and teacher, and despite also travelling to Scandinavia, he found it was the landscape under the M5 and M6 near his birthplace which inspired all these works, mostly depicted in the unnatural night lights of the motorway.

There are different variations on a theme. Sleep looks through concrete pillars to show the lit motorway and part of a pylon. Journey’s End is an interesting mix of orangeness, the sky, pylons, grass and the overwhelming darkness of the underneath of the looming motorway structure.

Drift shows industrial buildings reflected in water and Someplace is a pastel showing trees and pillars entwined next to some water. A Minor Place shows the greenery under the motorways and Midlands Landscape depicts a canal making its journey through the newer roads. The Wind and the Trees shows the distant sun in the sky looking through the orange artificial lights and black foliage silhouetted.

There’s no sign of life in these works, apart from in Silence 3, where a solitary animal, a donkey or horse with its head down, grazes unconcerned in a field where the pylons and motorway columns loom above, and another work where a vehicle can be seen on the road, implying life.

The depiction of the artificial light, the darkness and the different elements which make up this unseen landscape is very strongly presented.

Shaun Morris has exhibited many times before, including portraits.

The works in this exhibition were made with the support of a grant from Arts Council England, which seems to be money well spent on creating confident and powerful works well worth seeing'.
Not too bad, eh? Especially the line about Arts Council money being well spent! You don't hear that all too often..

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