Sonia Boyce, pioneer in the Black British cultural renaissance of the 1980s returns to the Bluecoat 25 years after first exhibiting here with new work Like Love Parts One & Two including a collaboration with Blue Room and Action her selection of emerging artists Beverley Bennett, Appau Boakye-Yiadom, Robin Deacon and Grace Ndiritu.
Boyce has also been invited to curate the Bluecoat’s other gallery spaces in recognition and celebration of her first exhibition at the Bluecoat in 1985 and her inclusion in Tate Liverpool’s Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic exhibition, which opens the same time as Like Love. Her selection, entitled Action, will showcase emerging artists whose themes, issues and approaches contrasts with the platform of ideas presented by a generation 25 years ago. The artists Boyce has chosen are Beverley Bennett, Appau Boakye-Yiadom, Robin Deacon and Grace Ndiritu.
Sonia said: “I am no longer the central attention in the work I make. Increasingly over the past decade, I have involved the participation of other people. I usually ask them to perform for me and use their responses as the basis for the artworks. Like Love is about my engagement with two communities: a school for young parents in Bristol, and an art group that meets weekly at the Bluecoat consisting of adults with learning difficulties and their carers. In both instances I have used their words and their actions.
“The Action exhibition I am curating allows me to explore my own concerns about the depictions of performative actions in art. And with the four artists I have chosen, the object of their attention is not on depicting themselves.“For example, Beverley Bennett’s subtle artworks become evidence of her interaction with the medium of drawing and then the audience becomes witness.”
An extract of the review by Ed Sexton at Culture 24 entitled 'Sonia Boyce transforms Liverpool's Bluecoat with Like Love - Parts One and Two and Action'
The performative element is carried on through the rest of the Bluecoat's gallery space in the work of three young artists selected by Boyce.
"It's such an important reflection of the work we do here at the Bluecoat," reflects Parsons.
"We thought it would be interesting to look at young black artists who are just emerging, in a similar position to the one Sonia would have been in 25 years ago, and see what the difference is now."
Beverley Bennett's beautiful, scary pieces in Action. Courtesy Bluecoat
The artists chosen are Beverley Bennett, Appau Boayke-Yiadom, Robin Deacon and Grace Ndiritu, whose themes, issues and approaches contrast with the platform of ideas presented by Sonia's generation of artists.
Bennett's MA degree, completed six months ago, forms the basis for her pieces, interacting with the medium of drawing using a mix of paper, pins and sharp scoring actions which she says embodies "a sort of Hansel and Gretel approach" in one piece.
Bennett's pieces are mounted at eye level for extra impact. Courtesy Bluecoat
"From a distance it looks very alluring, with delicate pieces of paper floating above the background," she observes.
"But when you get close to it it's really quite scary and violent – it's also mounted at eye height, so you come face to face with the pins."
"Action allows me to explore my own concerns about the depictions of performative actions in art," says Boyce.
"With the four artists I have chosen, the object of their attention is not on depicting themselves.
"For example, Beverley Bennett’s subtle artworks become evidence of her interaction with the medium of drawing, and then the audience becomes witness."
For the full review visit - http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/art76268
Photography by Alex Wolkowicz