The pandemic caused many art exhibitions to move online, including our LICA Undergraduate Degree Shows. Previously these were ‘for one week only, never to be repeated’, but since lockdown, they persist as virtual worlds that can be returned to again and again. The Summer 2020 and Summer 2021 shows, ‘Borderless’ and ‘Y/our Perspective’, are available now and presumably for ever more at:
Both are excellent.
It’s never quite the same as being in an exhibition venue, though, is it? Hence, when the Peter Scott Gallery finally re-opened with an exhibition, ‘New Perspectives’, in June and July 2021, your team went to take a look.
A pre-booking system was in force, but this was entirely painless, with no checks on entry.
The three artists on display were Garth Gratrix, Julia Heslop and Gavin Renshaw, who were ‘proposing how we can connect with the local landscape and community surrounding Lancaster Arts on the Lancaster University campus’. This meant exhibits from three very different people, all of whom were new to subtext, focusing on land and landscapes.
Garth Gratrix’s location photos, taken on our campus, all include someone (the artist?) in the background with a coloured handkerchief hanging from their back pocket, echoing the ‘handkerchief code’, accompanied by deliberately ‘ooh er!’ titles like ‘Gobstopper’ and ‘Snake Charmer’.
Julia Heslop’s work explores land ownership and housing, particularly in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne. ‘One Hundred and Thirty Million Pounds of Earth’ presents newspaper articles about student housing developments in Newcastle alongside a chart showing where the owners of the properties are based – the winners being Jersey and Luxembourg, alongside Newcastle itself. ‘Felling’ examines the felling of trees in Newcastle – we stand and gaze at bark rubbings from trees that are no more – while ‘Protohome’ is an 11-minute film about a self-build housing project in Newcastle led by Heslop in 2016. ‘The Spider Web City’, meanwhile, is a 21-minute documentary film about an ‘informal settlement’ on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania.
Gavin Renshaw, meanwhile, is fixated on maps, landscape photos and local travel, particularly in and around Preston. The ‘Routes in, Routes out’ project includes a detailed route map of cycle paths in and around the city, together with dozens of photos of Preston city centre, all taken from several miles away. You can download and use a PDF of his (accurate) cycle route map at:
Renshaw’s work ‘Caliban’ contains detailed sketches of the internal workings of the disused (and now demolished) Courtaulds Textiles factory at Red Scar Mill in Ribbleton, at its peak the largest producer of rayon in the UK, while ‘Parameters’ is a two minute film of a skateboarder (the artist?) whizzing around Preston Bus Station.
All the artists are worth investigating.
The Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘Shifting Currents’ on the theme of water, opened on 26 October and runs until Tuesday 14 December. A similar pre-booking system is in operation.
Footnote – Rhian Daniel’s review of ‘New Perspectives’ for SCAN is at: