Liverpool. To Another Place.

The sunshine was back again but with guarantee for how long, so not wanting to see it go to waste I headed out to Liverpool and the Another Place art installation at Crosby on the Sefton coast. This is the stretch which runs north from the city along the Mersey estuary and then up to the resort of Southport.

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Crosby Shore. Another Place Blue Shirt.

CROSBY. One of the figures which form the Another Place art installation by the artist Anthony Gormley. There are one hundred of these figures placed in different positions along the beach, allowing them to appear and disappear as the tide rises and falls. As you can see people like to make sure that the figures are okay, they are out in all weathers after all.

Another Place is an art installation created by the artist Anthony Gormley it consists of 98 identical iron figures all cast from a plaster cast of the artist’s own body which are anchored into the bedrock beneath the sands in various positions which allows them to appear and disappear as the tide ebbs and flows.

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CROSBY.  One of the Iron Men stands an contemplates a navigation beacon on the River Mersey.

This stretch of the coast is also attractive in it’s own right, a little further along towards the resort town of Southport are the towns of Ainsdale and Formby, between them the stretch of coastline contains National Trust woodlands and sand dunes with a colony of rare red squirrels. The species was once more populous but encroachment by the larger grey squirrels diminished their numbers over the years leaving them with just a few strongholds across the country. The Sefton Coastal Path a twenty two mile walking route also runs through the area.

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LIVERPOOL. Crosby,  an offshore windfarm on Burbo Bank at the mouth of the River Mersey.

I used the train to get into Liverpool and then out to Waterloo on Merseyrail’s Northern Line route which connects the city with Southport. Its a short walk from the station down to the shore where I picked up the path along the coast for the couple of miles walk to the statues. On the way I stopped off at the excellent Waterloo place coffee shop, I wanted to fuel up before the walk…….

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Waterloo. Waterloo Place Coffee House.

LIVERPOOL. Waterloo Place Coffee House.

The sun had brought the people out and the sands were full of activity and after an easy walk it came to where the statues stand, gazing out in silent contemplation as the people and the ships busying up and down the River Mersey all pass by.

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CROSBY. Three of the figures look out across the Mersey. On the far bank is New Brighton once served by the famous Mersey ferries but sadly no longer since the demolition of its pier.

 

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Preston. A Visit To The Moon.

I’ve recently paid a visit to the moon, I know that sounds a bit extreme so let me explain.

PRESTON. Herris Museum.

Museum of The Moon.

 

My lunar trip took place thanks to excellent Harris Museum in Preston, Lancashire. Until the 24th of February the museum is hosting the stunning art instillation ‘The Museum Of The Moon’ created by the artist Luke Jerram, it’s also accompanied by a soundtrack from the composer Dan Jones.

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The artwork is a 23 feet high model of the Moon created from NASA survey photographs and is on tour to various locations around the world, both indoors and out. At the Harris it’s suspended in the atrium which runs through the centre of the building which stands on the town’s Market Square and dates form the 1890’s. As well as containing an absorbing collection of items and artworks, as well as the city’s library, the building also hosts touring exhibitions.

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PRESTON. Herris Museum.

Harris Museum. Museum of the Moon.

If you are in the area and want to meet the Moon close up you have until the 24th February, or you can track it as it travels around.

 

03-02-19 HARRIS MUSEUM

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Liverpool. A Very Particular Gallery.

A few days ago I finally made my way to a place I’ve been meaning to visit for some time, the Victoria Gallery & Museum, part of Liverpool University. I had kept coming across references to it and had made various plans to visit but something had always come up and got in the way until the Saturday when I finally got through the door.

The Gallery is located on Ashton Street, off Brownlow Hill. It stands opposite the modernistic Metropolitan Cathedral, the warm, red brick of the gallery building is a stark contrast to the brash concrete and angular shape of the cathedral.

LIVERPOOL. Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

This isn’t the largest museum or gallery I’ve ever visited but it more than makes up for it with character and quirkiness. The interior of the building is largely unchanged from its opening, when the top floor, now the Tate Hall, served as the University’s library. It is a marvellous time capsule of Victorian design and style of that period. The magnificent entrance hall, now a excellent cafe, is dominated by a wonderfully tiled fireplace from which elegant stair cases lead off up to the higher floors.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum

The Entrance Hall Cafe.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum

Stairway to The Upper Floors

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum Owl Skeleton

Owl Skeleton On The Stairs.

Some of the displays are contained within individual rooms, which I found helped, I was able to focus more on specific items rather than be overwhelmed by larger displays.

The top floor of, the original museum library, now the Tate Hall named after Sir Henry Tate one of the University library’s benefactors, is a large and airy space with a beautiful beamed ceiling. This part of the gallery contains a wonderfully quirky mix of displays, one end has exhibits charting the part Liverpool University played in nuclear research, for medical uses originally and then how that changed with the onset of WW2 and then with the coming of peace developments with lead to the building of the Large Hadron Collider. At the other end of the room however there is a display of dentistry through the ages with a reconstruction of a typical Victorian era Dentist’s surgery and a collection of dentures form around the world.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum Tate Hall.

The Tate Hall.

One final aspect which made my visit so enjoyable was the staff, they are amongst the most friendly, approachable and well informed that I have met, only to happy to discuss the museum, its history and displays. Treat yourself to a couple of hours away from the rush of the city centre, next time you are near or in Liverpool, pay the Victoria a visit.

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Manchester. Art On The Street.

A few weeks ago a friend invited me along to his graduation ceremony for his Masters degree which was being held in Manchester. I think it now makes him some sort of Jedi.

The event was being held in the starkly elegant Bridgewater Hall across from the Victorian splendour of the Midland hotel, the hotel was acting as the dressing room for the students cap and gownery. So needless to say there was a certain amount of hustle and bustle between the two but in amongst all the celebrations and mortar board throwing etc. there was a small oasis of calm.

Carefully, diligently a gentleman was sketching away at recreating the Manchester skyline in a panorama of watercolours and pen strokes. From time to time small knots of the celebrating crowds would break off to admire his craftsmanship but never once did he break his concentration or step out of his zone.

I wonder what the finished image looks like and where it’s now hanging?

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Gateshead And An Angel

Standing with a mute indifference over the bustle and clutter of a housing estate and the busy A1 road to Scotland is Anthony Gormley’s ‘Angel of The North’. The sculpture was erected in 1998 and it’s rusted orange presence has now become part of the psyche of the North East. The varied palette of orange and browns that make up the surface of the Angel are a feature of the Cor-Ten steel which is used in it’s construction. This steel has naturally weathering properties which protect it and remove the need for any additional painting.

On the day I took this image I had been visiting Newcastle upon Tyne, just across the River Tyne from Gateshead and the Angel. It was late-ish summer and the evening was beginning to settle in as the sun bid goodbye to the day. I decided to silhouette the Angel against the cloud fluffed sky and while I liked the resulting image, I felt a B&W version would work too.

A detail I only noticed when editing the shot, I had always assumed that the wings of the Angel where flat but in fact they fold inward by a very few degrees in a shallow embrace.

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The Singing Ringing Tree

High on the moors at Crown Point above the East Lancashire town of Burnley stands this sculpture, The Singing Ringing Tree. It’s one of four such outdoor pieces which go under the collective name of The Panopticon, or being able to see all. Each piece is of a different design, the Singing Ringing Tree takes the shape of a wing blown tree, distorted by the constantly blowing, moorland winds. Additionally the lengths of tubing that go together to make the sculpture are tuned and as the wind passes over them a constant and ever changing series of notes are produced. It is an eerie experience to stand close by and hear the ever changing soundscape of fluting drones and tones increase and decrease in volume, produced as the winds change direction and intensity. My original image was a colour shot but there was something about the starkness of the location and the artwork that persuaded me that a black and white image would work best. If you have a chance the Singing Ringing Tree is one of the more unusual public artworks you will find.

The other three pieces are sited around other East Lancashire locations, collectively they represent the regeneration of a part of England’s north west which has suffered due to the decline of the traditional heavy industries. The locations are Atom at the village of Wycoller, Halo above the town of Haslingden and Colourfields which is built onto a former gun battery sited in the town’s Corporation Park. It is a summer project of mine to visit all of the sites to see what images I can produce from the artworks and their locations.

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