The Liverpool Collection, Dot Art, until 13th January, free As I’ve written before, landscape is one of my least favourite genres of art. But there may be one that matches it: Liverpool landscapes.
Hear me out on this one. I’m as in love with the architecture of this city as anyone. I love bringing visitors from near and far into town and showing them the sights. But I find so many of the photos and artworks of the city you find in various shops and events so…samey. I look to art to give me a different perspective on the world around me – and that has to go for art about my city too. It almost has to work harder to impress me.
With this in mind, it was with some trepidation that I went to catch The Liverpool Collection. Dot Art offers representation and space to such a wide variety of North West artists, surely it couldn’t be more of the same?
I’m happy to report that it wasn’t. They’ve showcased the perspectives on Liverpool that I’ve been looking for.
Because the perspectives on the city that I want to see are the personal ones. I don’t want the glorification of the Liver Building because I know it’ll sell – I want art which is about what a person might notice about the city. Just as my haunts may not be the same as yours, we all see details both large and small in surprisingly different ways. Take Maggie Hilditch’s paintings of the windows of Liverpool Cathedral which I’ve of course acknowledged, but never predominantly focused on during my visits there.
Then there are Mike Rickett’s collages of – well, not anything much, if you’re looking for the landmarks of Liverpool. Instead, they incorporate the very fabric of our city; the chimneys and bricks which make the world we mostly live our lives in. It’s not got the glamour of the Three Graces, but it’s the reality of our experience of the city. In the same line, I really enjoyed Clare Bates’ photographs, looking high and low. Finding details and angles you might otherwise miss in your rushing from one place to the other around.
If you do want something a bit more conventional, there’s plenty of choice- and yes, some of it is more by the numbers. My favourites are the works of John Petch and Ali Barker. Both render our buildings with strong lines and geometric shapes in a really quite architectural way, whilst bringing it to life with pops of colour.
In the diversity of styles, what comes through very strongly is a sense of deep appreciation of the city. More than admiration, these are artists who have delved below the surface to represent their feelings about these locations. Surely nobody who didn’t know and love the area around Princes Avenue could make it look so beautiful as Martin Jones’ print does.
And that is another nice thing about Dot Art. All of these works are for sale, and the prints are particularly affordable. If you are after art which reflects our city, which shows how we really experience it rather than looking like a tourist brochure, you really have no excuse to settle for something samey when you can get such good art at good value.
Featured image: Ali Barker