The Politics of Beauty
- Liverpool 2018 Independents Biennial exhibition
Preview: 29 August 2018, 7 - 9pm
Exhibition: 30 Aug 2018
29 Sep 2018
Corke Art Gallery, 296 - 298
Aigburth Road, Liverpool L17 9PW
This exhibition brings together four artists from both ends of the M62 whose
works can be said to deal in some way with the idea of beauty and its political
Western beauty is still epitomized
in the Ancient Greek ideal of the smooth and perfect human figure, usually
naked to emphasize the unblemished skin and smooth curves of youth. Edmund
Burke famously surmised in 1756 that beauty is usually inherent in smallness,
smoothness and delicacy in a social context, thereby connoting feminine sexuality
and love. E F Schumacker posited in 1973 that economically 'small is beautiful',
especially 'as people mattered'. The ideal of beauty and its aesthetic has
been appropriated by contemporary consumer society using images of 'beauty'
to sell everything and anything, from cars to holiday destinations, from lipstick
to mobile phones, and from lifestyles to relationships. In doing so beauty
But what happens to beauty when nature
and time happen? Pleasing decay, the picturesque beauty that is captured in
Chrissy Collinson's paintings and drawings is what happens. As art objects
they are certainly beautiful and jewel like, being small and perfectly detailed.
But the subject matter depicted is the effect of entropy - time and nature
- and the roughness and irregularity it creates on the unseen urban architecture
and landscape within the city: the city in this case being Chrissy's home
city of Hull.
Liverpool based artist Josie Jenkins'
paintings reflect her time spent during residencies in the Chinese city of
Xiamen, a city undergoing rapid industrialisation. It is a city is surrounded
by a landscape of natural beauty and this can be glimpsed in Josie's rendering
of the city's architecture set against a backdrop of distant hills and mountains:
the manmade presence is in stark contrast to the beauty of the loosely painted
blue and green hills. The compositions and paint become a metaphor for the
changes the city as a whole is undergoing from the impact of western consumer
Paul Collinson uses the smoothness
of the painted surface in his paintings to represent the hyper-real beauty
of modern consumer society. Within the modern shopping centre is all that
is beautiful and sexual, both virtually and real. Even the holiday destination
of historic Middle Eastern ruins is not immune from the advertising industry's
sexualisation of celebrity and the Western standards of beauty.
John Elcock's paintings provide the viewer with respite from the contemporary
excesses of beauty aesthetics by finding a beauty in a ploughed field, and
a lump of stone. By rendering a more contemplative landscape of the mundane,
that ever present beauty that we ourselves can find is celebrated in a quiet
manner. John's paintings suggest a beauty that is based on more than appearances,
and how beauty is something that invokes feelings of love.