What are you doing in there?: Exhibition review

What are you doing in there? at PS Mirabel Studios

Last time I wrote a review of an exhibition at PS Mirabel, I thought it was a little hit and miss. ‘Twice as Nice‘ just had way too much going on, it was overwhelming. That is not the case with current exhibition ‘What are you doing in there?’.

This exhibition is a great introduction to PS Mirabel and it’s artists. You aren’t bombarded by artwork, instead you are presented with a mix of paintings and photography, each having their own space, it’s not overcrowded, but there is enough in the exhibition to keep you entertained and engaged. A mix bag exhibition, some work I walked right by, but there were with some real stand out pieces…

Photo Credit: Olga Woszcyna

As I approached Mirabel Studios, I was first presented by the sculpture work of Oliver East. This piece is at the entrance, outside the studio at the gates. East re-paints found objects, wood, scaffolding etc. that he finds on the street. He gives these pieces a new lease of life, using bright colours, which tend to contrast against the mundane surroundings and run-down element of the actual sculpture itself. Oliver East’s work continues inside with photographs of previous found objects. He seems to be drawn to the grubby side of Manchester, the back-streets, the alleys, the run down corners. He decorates these areas with his art, using pinks and yellows, bright and clean colours. This juxtaposition is what makes East’s work stand out.

Photo Credit: Oliver East

Oliver East takes long walks to influence his art. He is dyslexic and also has attention deficit disorder. He sets himself rules when going on these walks, which aid him in creating his work. His sculptures are created to engage the public, having them around Manchester ‘permits chance encounters.’

Photo Credit: Olga Woszcyna

Another artist who seems to explore similar themes as above is Olga Woszcyna. We have reviewed Woszcyna’s work previously in Twice as Nice, and she has captured my attention again. In ‘What are you doing in there?’, the piece that stood out to me was ‘Entity III’, a limited edition print. Here you will find a photograph of torn, rotten wood, juxtaposed against a background of shiny, smooth gold. Old and new, light and dark, rotten and rich, you can see all these opposite textures within this one piece of art.

Photo Credit: Olga Woszcyna

Olga Woszcyna‘s work is ‘influenced by the aesthetics of contemporary architecture and goldsmithing…. in architecture and interior, design is defined by the juxtaposition of wood, metal, concrete, glass and stone…’ She states that the wood and gold together become an ancient temple, which represents that link to design and construction. The root of pretty much every building is concrete or wood, we cover these frames and structures in ‘gold’, in decoration, in rich aesthetics, to make the outside look pleasing. You can link this back to people, people that are different on the outside to what they are like on the inside!

Photo Credit: James Ventre

‘I go through all this before you wake up so I can feel happier to be safe up here with you’ by artist James Ventre is a huge and emotional painting. The painting depicts a young man, sat at the end of his bed with ruffled pillows in the background, but it’s his face that captures a moment, that first morning sigh. This painting literally sums up the feeling of ‘same shit different day.’ He is sat there, the alarm has just gone off, knowing he has to follow the rules of life – get up, get clean, look presentable and go to work. He looks groggy, tired, he is the epitome of ‘can’t be arsed’. His pale skin, dreary eyes, solemn look, he looks run down and heavy. I am sure many of us, stuck in a rut, bored of our day job, have felt like this many of mornings.

I have since read more about artist James Ventre, his work explores the idea of masculinity, ‘celebrating those individuals who may feel ‘othered’ within the queer community itself.’ He uses male and masculine images against traditionally feminine elements, colours and textures etc. Strange, whilst studying the painting I noticed the pinks and the fabrics, but didn’t link this to masculine and feminine, instead focusing on the overall scene and the man’s expression. It goes to show how much an artist statement can add or detract from what you as a viewer see in an image. Art is great! I truly love it for this reason! What one person sees, can be totally different to what someone else does.

Photo Credit: Olga Woszcyna

There are a bunch of other artists at this exhibition including Vanessa Donnelly (in the above image) Christine Lawley, and Richard Ward amongst others. The above are my personal favourites. PS Mirabel do a great job in introducing their artists and giving you a taster of their work. So do as they say and go and find out what the artist are actually doing in there!

‘What are you doing in there?’ is on at PS Mirabel, ends 9th February.

Find out what other exhibitions are on this month on our What’s On Calendar and subscribe for early access to the latest articles!

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