REVIEW: Liverpool Art Prize 2012 at METAL, Edge Hill

The Liverpool Art Prize has returned once again to METAL at Edge Hill rail station. Now in its 5th year, the prize acknowledges the outstanding achievements and contribution to contemporary art within Liverpool of the shortlisted artists. Liverpool Live’s art editor Stevie Daly casts his eye of this year’s four finalists: Robyn Woolston, Alan Dunn, Drawing Paper and Tomo…

 

 

After a quick dash round the newly opened Poundstretcher for some plastic cutlery, the first thing to see was some… plastic cutlery. On the floor. No, not the leftover scraps from opening night but business as usual for Queen of Junk Robyn Woolston. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with a carpet of plastic forks glinting in the light thrown off a neon sign on the wall, resembling leaves fallen off the tree plonked in the middle of the space, which is nice. A crunchy mini-Narnia, it seems something of a tame, less menacing effort than some of her other works.

 

Next up is Alan Dunn’s collection of audio clips, photos, record memorabilia and curious objects in display cases. Interesting enough if you put the time in to engage, but the casual visitor will more likely walk straight through with the impression they’ve stumbled into the back office by mistake. Albeit one with lovely high ceilings.

The Drawing Paper boys (John Barraclough + Mike Carney) also suffer somewhat from this effect – probably due to the constraints of the venue more than anything else – but their varied collection of drawings and doodles are definitely worth a look if you can find the stairs.

Up yet another flight of stairs and past the actual office we have a space the final nominee – graffiti vs. art piggy in the middle Tomo – has set up to actually look like an office. Coming across as a mash-up of 1984 and video game series Fallout, it works well to showcase his talent as both a graffiti artist and a darkly funny painter-illustrator.

Maybe it’s the focus on the expansion into a Liverpool Art Month, or perhaps simply the nature of the work of this year’s nominees, but overall the show feels less like a coherent exhibition and more like a collection of “some arty stuff”. Like Bianca Stratford on a trip to Europe, I found myself coming away simply “whelmed”.

The Liverpool Art Prize runs until 9th June at METAL at Edge Hill Rail Station, Tunnel Road, L7 6ND

Open Tues-Fri 2-6pm and Sat 12-4pm

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