Local scenes: the work of Jon Pountain

Local scenes: the work of Jon Pountain

One of the Biennial Independents exhibitions – Landscapes and Views at the Corke Art Gallery on Aigburth Road – features views of Liverpool painted and drawn in a variety of styles, mainly by local artists.  One of these is Jon Pountain, whose painting of the library and  bus shelter on Lodge Lane I encountered last year on a visit to my GP at Princes Park Health Centre.  I think this is the photo he used as the basis of the painting I saw that day: Jon uses a digital camera like a sketch book; the paintings he creates from these images are later rendered in pastel on paper.

Jon is a local artist – he lives on Bentley Road, which probably explains seeing his painting in the Health Centre.  During the last Biennial in 2008 his Lodge Lane Days project displayed reproductions of his paintings of the street in window fronts along Lodge Lane.

I like to think that my work offers a portal into places and moments, a space to step into and view that which is essentially transient.  The subject matter for each piece created comes from transient moments captured along Lodge Lane itself. Although the work  reflects life along Lodge Lane I am not setting out with any intentions to make a documentary of life on Lodge Lane. I hope that each piece will have its own identity and that any interpretation and narrative is up to the imagination of the viewer themselves to decide.

The current exhibition at the Corke Art Gallery includes this painting of the ‘Pivvy’ at the top end of Lodge Lane, as well as the night view above.  There is also a superb night view of Upper Stanhope Street, from his own private collection.  These night views, with their lit windows illuminating night people and the light spilling out into the darkness, have something of Edward Hopper about them.

Jon Pountain, who was shortlisted for the 2006 John Moores Painting Prize, says his work focuses on everyday places, moments and journeys:

I try to recreate the feeling of light and space within each scene, in order to transport the viewer into the painting, as if standing there looking in. Everything is caught momentarily – in transience, waiting for someone to come along and continue the journey. It is important to me that my work is reflective of the present. Because of this, I hope that it will in some way comment on a variety of aspects of our lives and surroundings.

I am currently working on new paintings which all feature bus stops as a main focal point. Acting as a bookmark for a journey the bus stop becomes the one constant, the fixed anchor which is set paradoxically against the flux of people passing by.

Here is a slideshow of Jon’s Lodge Lane images:

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Amongst the other works on show at the Corke Gallery were two ink and wash drawings by Pete Betts an old acquintance, who, by curious coincidence I met again the other day at the allotment after we had lost contact for many years. We knew each other years ago when he and several other friends were teachers at Quarry Bank School where Pete taught art.  Curiously, he once taught Nic Corke, owner of the gallery, as Nic confirmed today.  Often Liverpool feels more like a village than a city!

‘On The Street’ in Anfield

‘On The Street’ in Anfield

Alerted at the last minute by the Liverpool Art and Culture Blog, I nipped up to Anfield this evening for the last night of  ‘On The Street’, a video installation that’s been on display in a terrace of derelict houses in Anfield for the past week.

On the Street

Empty properties in the heart of the regeneration zone, have been occupied by the giant ‘ghosts’ of those who once lived there. The illusion has been realised through a large-scale video installation created by Brooklyn-based artist Ed Purver with local young people aged 11-17 as part of Liverpool Biennial’s ‘On the Street’. The launch took place on Friday 16 April attended by members of the local community, friends and family of the young people and those supporting the project.

When I arrived at dusk a closing street party and barbecue was just winding down, and local adults, kids and community police officers stood around watching the show. A lot of the kids were recognising themselves or others in the giant videos that flickered in the empty rooms of the derelict houses.

An impressive work, obviously appreciated by the locals.  Glad I didn’t miss it.

Ed Purver’s video sketchbook for the project

Liverpool Stories video: Giants in Anfield

Biennial: Keep Crossing Fingers

I spotted this when I got off the bus at the bottom of Leece Street today.  It turns out to be a Biennial piece – by Otto Karvonen. It says this on the Biennial website:

Working principally outside the gallery, Otto Karvonen makes simple, often humorous interventions into everyday life, designed to prompt us to question the nature of reality and our own beliefs.

Otto Karvonen’s latest work explores precisely this slippage between the universal and the individual in our experience of the city. In a series of signs distributed along the Made Up route, Karvonen crossbreeds personal observation with the formal language of street signage to reveal the cityscape as a series of overlapping and modulated realities.

He’s keenly aware that the experience of a city depends on personal history and identity as much as the bricks and mortar which define the physical limits of a place: “When I’m staying abroad in an unfamiliar place I start to automatically look for resemblances and draw parallels between places, apparently in order to locate my own identity in relation to the new surroundings. We carry our places of importance with us in memory and longing, and always project something of them onto the new places we visit and inhabit.”

This is another, over by the Anglican Cathedral: