Posts tagged with 'art'
A newly commissioned artwork to celebrate the 100th birthday of social enterprise PSS (Person Shaped Support) has recently been unveiled in the Museum of Liverpool. The team here at the Museum work with lots of different groups and organisations to create exhibits which tell diverse stories of the city. Find out more about the Our City, Our Stories programme.
We were approached by PSS in 2018 to work in partnership to commemorate their innovative work. We were delighted to support their funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Heritage Fund). Happily, it was successful.
PSS wanted the proposed display to creatively reflect their organisation, its people and values.
Founded by Eleanor Rathbone in 1919, PSS began its life as Liverpool Personal Services Society. It made a huge impact by listening to, supporting and empowering people in need across the city.
From its Liverpool home, PSS kick-started a whole host of innovations in health and social care, including Age UK, Legal Aid, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Relate and Riverside Housing.
PSS is still coming up with new ways to help. This includes mental health services and rehabilitation for women in the criminal justice system, support for people with learning and physical disabilities, and help for families affected by addiction.
Working with Dot Art, local artists submitted proposals to produce artworks responding to a detailed brief.
There were a number of great proposals and it was a hard job to whittle them down. The winner was Sarah Nicolson whose ideas around using visual layers and transparent figures which raise questions around the visibility of people experiencing social disadvantage spoke to us all.
The location of the display was to be the Museum Atrium, in ‘the case under the stairs’ as we call to it. Its unusual shape offered lots of creative possibilities and challenges!
We met, discussed ideas and over the next few months Sarah produced the artwork and adapted it to fit requirements and practicalities. With every display we also need to think about key messages, interpretation and accessibility and this was no different.
A timeline of PSS’s key dates was applied in vinyl on the inside of the case. Sarah’s artwork consisting of a textile map of the city covering the case base, 100 cast resin figures, bridges and origami buildings was installed over a number of days. Important signs warning the public not to feed the artist were displayed.
A specially made short film which tells the story of PSS and the vital work that it does was shown on the atrium screens.
The display can be seen over the next six months and there will be further special events as part of the centenary.
Find out more about the amazing (and surprising) story of PSS
Sadly this weekend is your last chance to visit the fantastic Fresh Perspectives exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery which closes on Bank Holiday Monday, 6 May. GCSE and A-level students from five local secondary schools are exhibiting an inspirational array of artworks. Whether that’s a ceramic flamingo or an oil portrait, the level of talent on show this year is incredible.
To mark the end of this vibrant exhibition students from Birkenhead School who created a series of print and collage pieces on the theme of travel, will be running a free family printing workshop on Saturday 4th May between 1-4pm in the Activity Rooms. Families are welcome to drop in and have a go and make their own artwork using maps and bird imagery. Read more…
Five Wirral schools have been selected to show their work in the biennial exhibition Fresh Perspectives at the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
This unique opportunity allows local students a chance to display their work in a national gallery and enables our visitors to enjoy the work of the artists, makers, designers and creatives of the future.
With the exhibition half way through it’s run we thought we would take a closer look at the work and the views of the students and teachers from two of the schools involved. Read more…
The annual poll aims to find the public’s favourite Art Funded work of the year, and to celebrate a year of helping museums and galleries acquire great art. You can help and support us by voting!
‘Am Not I a Man and a Brother’ is a significant acquisition for the Museum- and the UK.
It is the first painting in our collection to show the powerful and resonant iconography of abolition. The artwork dates from around 1800 and the artist is unknown. The foot of the canvas reads, ‘Am Not I a Man and a Brother’, a variation on the more common version, ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother’. Read more…
14 November 2018 by Ann Bukantas
The Walker Art Gallery‘s archive is full of voices from the past – letters from artists, including the Pre-Raphaelites, notes from early curators and fascinating information from scholars passing judgement on paintings. The John Moores Painting Prize too has left the Walker with an archive, which stretches back 60 years since the inaugural exhibition in 1957.
28 September 2018 by Ann
The Lady Lever Art Gallery was named in memory of Lord Lever’s wife Elizabeth and was built to house an art collection to share with Lever’s soap factory workers. It’s always been about community and inclusion and today is no different. It’s not uncommon for us to hear parents say they don’t think the gallery is for them as they fear they’ll be too noisy or it’ll go over the kids’ heads. We’d like to shout from the top of our beautiful glass domes that we love noise, creativity and little ones and we’d love you to come and visit! Read more…
As a volunteer at the Walker Art Gallery, I have been helping Exhibition Curator, Alex Patterson, to digitise works related to the Whistler and Pennell: Etching the City exhibition, currently on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. This exhibition explores the role that James McNeill Whistler and Joseph Pennell played in the Etching Revival (1830-1940) in Britain. It also shows how their contemporaries, such as Sir Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), Charles Méryon (1821-1868), and William Strang (1859-1921), were influenced by their art.
One of the etchings that really caught my interest was Breaking Up of the Agamemnon by Sir Francis Seymour Haden, which was one of three works by him included in the exhibition. It shows a large hulk of a vessel being demolished. The vessel is HMS Agamemnon, the Royal Navy battleship moored at the Naval Arsenal at Deptford on the River Thames, seen against the setting sun. Launched in 1852, the 230-feet long Agamemnon was one of the most intimidating of all wooden warships and the first British steam-powered flagship. The Agamemnon saw action in many battles, including the Crimean War, and was the predecessor of iron-hulled ships, which were introduced in the 1860s.
Breaking Up of the Agamemnon reminded me of another etching, Breaking Up of the Great Eastern, No 2 (1890) by Sir Frank Short (1857-1945), also in the Walker Art Gallery collection. I came across the etching when I was researching scenes of Liverpool Docks. Both ships had illustrious histories, and I felt that the images of their breaking up expressed a deep sense of loss and sorrow.
Haden’s etching of the Agamemnon was a spontaneous response to what he saw on the Thames one day in July 1870, but it became the most important subject of his career, which he continued to work on over the next 16 years.
Early in 1870 the art scholar, artist and etcher Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834-1894) asked Haden to etch a plate to be published in the first edition of his new art journal, The Portfolio (1870-1893). The journal, named after a folder in which collectors often kept valuable prints, championed etching as original art, rather than a reproductive medium. This concept played an instrumental role in the British etching revival during the second half of the 19th century. Haden, like the French Impressionists, always tried to work directly from life, and for this purpose, he always carried prepared copper plates wherever he went. He drew directly onto the plate to capture the movement of the light and its reflections in the sky, clouds, and water. The demolition of the Agamemnon may not have been a traditional subject for a study of ambiance, but Haden must have been entranced by its grandeur and spectacle.
In a letter to Hamerton, dated July 3, 1870, Haden wrote of the Agamemnon etching: “. . . I had thought of making the sun set behind the old hulk and the distant cupolas of Greenwich and of using the sinking luminary as typical of the departing glories of both . . . .” This shows that Haden indeed drew the initial sketch for Breaking Up of the Agamemnon, No 1 directly onto the copper plate. The sun is setting between the ship and Greenwich, conveying a poignant majestic reference to the glorious history of the Agamemnon. The rays of the setting sun rippling through the clouds are echoed on the stirring water in the foreground. Named after Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae who led the united Greek army to the Trojan War, the ship proudly displays the figurehead wearing a Roman centurion’s plumed helmet pointing towards the sun. The Agamemnon almost appears as if ready to set sail once again into the distant horizon. Although she is now tethered to a much smaller barge, with her ribs exposed and only one of three masts standing, the Agamemnon still looks magnificent. The image highlights the ship’s immense scale and power, but it also conveys a sense an ending.
Breaking Up of the Agamemnon was a very complex project for Haden. He said he had “never undertook a more perplexing job.” The initial spontaneity of etching was followed by many attempts at adding and deleting small details throughout the composition, resulting in 11 states (versions of the print) being made in total. However, the main image of the ship against a shimmering evening sun remained largely unchanged.
Breaking Up of the Agamemnon, No 1 was an artistic and commercial success. The plate was unfortunately too large to be printed in The Portfolio and instead was later published by Frederick Goulding, and sold through Colnaghi’s, bringing Haden a huge financial reward. The plate was so popular that he produced a second version of the subject Breaking Up of the Agamemnon, No 2 (1886) in mezzotint.
As for the etching Haden promised to Hamerton for the first edition of The Portfolio Hamerton instead selected another of Haden’s prints, entitled A Brig at Anchor (1870), which is also in the Walker Art Gallery collection. He etched it from nature by moonlight on the Thames.
To discover more about the art of etching and to enjoy Haden’s intricate works at first hand don’t miss Whistler and Pennell: Etching the City at the Lady Lever Art Gallery until 7 October and the fascinating video made by Liverpool John Moores University School of Art and Design explaining the process of etching.
24 August 2018 by Andrew
Cumbria-based artist Martin Greenland won the John Moores Painting Prize in 2006 with his painting Before Vermeer’s Clouds. It was not his first time in the exhibition, having been selected for the John Moores several times before that. Here, Martin tells us about those earlier paintings, and how it felt to get through. His thought-provoking blog is an insight into the emotional responses an artist can face, even upon selection.