Sunday, 22 November 2015

New Art in Birmingham

Birmingham is great, you can find yourself encountering new and interesting art without too much effort. Today we did it by popping into the Waterhall Gallery, which is part of the main Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham and discovering their Salon 2015 exhibition which is on until the 23rd December. The other day it was done by going for a bit of a wander and encountering the street art in the Digbeth area, around the Custard Factory.

The Salon exhibition is a selling exhibition organised by New Art West Midlands. It features work by a number of artists including well respected ones such as Vanley Burke and Boyd and Evans.

The range of styles is wide but the exhibition hangs together well and does not appear too overcrowded.

One can certainly enjoy without buying. Although if you are seriously interested in collecting interesting new art which may rise in value this is probably a good way to do it.

There were some really interesting pieces in the exhibition, but unfortunately I did not take a note of their numbers and artists. So apologies for those I cannot credit for their work as I describe it.

The first piece to catch my husband’s eye was of an Afro-Caribbean child surrounded by white dolls. It was one of the deeper pieces of the exhibition.

There was a film of a train journey taken from the cab of a train at various points in the year. This captured my husband’s attention too.

We were both enthralled by a swing which stood as a sculpture. The seat had somehow been suspended in mid swing and it was interesting to think about how that might have been achieved.

One of my favourite pieces was a small picture of Malala which was in paint and had three blocks of colour within it. The reason that I loved this was that unlike many pictures and photographs of this amazing young woman the artist had captured her youth. There was something within this which captured the teenager rather than the stateswoman.

There were also a couple of play houses where the entrances had been boarded up and windows blocked, but this was done in the same kind of plastic the houses had been made of. It was really effective and fun.

Finally there were a couple of limited edition fabric bags – costing far less than the main art. Buying one of these, which captured my sense of humour, as a part of my Christmas present was as far as our budget would go. Yet even that is still art, we are intending to hang it in our lounge.

This really was an art fair which catered for a wide range of interests and budgets and is well worth a look. Another way to buy art in Brum is to support the City of Colours Winter Jam which is a fundraiser happening on the 5th  December.

There is a great deal of street art around especially in Digbeth. A couple of weeks ago after going to see the Punk Rock!! So What? exhibition at Birmingham City University’s Millennium Point Campus Parkside Gallery. I went on a wander round looking at some. I went wandering on my own but I am aware that there are Birmingham Street Art tours available. (The Mockingbird Theatre within the Custard Factory is where I think I picked up a flyer about it them).

This varied from the strange to the very moving; the small to the massive and the amateur to the professional. Some of them worked well because of their location, some seemed out of place being placed in the midst of urban decline. Some reflected the way the arts are regenerating the area others didn’t.

There were a couple of pieces which really struck me as I wandered round, including the image at the top of this post. As is the nature of street art I don’t know the artists and so cannot acknowledge them but as I say they really moved me. with the depth of what their work was saying. 

The angel particularly resonated with me and I regard it as one of the most spiritual images I have been able to engage with. In the unlikely event the artist ever reads this all I can say is thank you for your work. You are incredibly talented and I hope it is ok with you that I will be using this as a worship resource in coming months and probably years.

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