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5th February 2013

Four at Cornerhouse

Three young curators, four emerging artists, and a little help from Cornerhouse

As the name suggests, ‘Four’ showcases the work of four emerging artists in a variety of mediums, from oil painting to installation. Housed in Oxford Street’s conveniently located ‘Cornerhouse’ and running until February 24th, this exhibition forms part of the gallery’s brand new January showcase, treating viewers to some truly interesting and enticing examples of contemporary art, with a focus on the appreciation of emerging artists and curators.

Arguably a welcome change from exhibitions commonly seen in the likes of The Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery, ‘Four’ certainly doesn’t disappoint when viewing experience is considered, and there isn’t an eighteenth century oil painting in sight. Entering into a small, dimly-lit room, visitors are greeted by the central, ominous presence of Nicola Ellis’ ‘Peragro’, an intriguing sculpture which seems to resemble some sort of oddly-formed creature, instantly conveying the exhibition’s theme of nature, with a degree of surrealism and intrigue.

Interspersed throughout the room are triptychs by both Tristram Aver and Kate Sully. Sully’s three-dimensional pieces, resembling colourful petri dishes are said to ‘explore ideas of artificial cultivation’, whilst Aver’s chaotic pieces, comprising oil, acrylic and spray paints focus on contemporary societal issues, from hunting to the influence of the police. As well as this, Liz West’s installation ‘The predicament of in here and out there’  uses  mirrors, lighting and video encased in a wardrobe to encourage visitors to take initiative and explore the piece, resulting in a degree of interaction which is so often lacking from popular exhibitions.

Not to be sniffed at, the four artists in this exhibition, all based in northern England, have showcased their work in exhibitions in an array of locations from Bolton to Berlin, and although each has their own distinct style, ‘Four’ has a brilliant sense of coherence. This can solely be attributed to the work of the exhibition’s curators; three students ranging from secondary school to University age. The jury’s out on whether you think this exhibition is a work of genius or a non-starter, but if you’re looking for contemporary, vibrant and thought-provoking work, ‘Four’ is a must-see.

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