“How We Look”: Wirral Met Fellowship exhibition 2019

Man running outlined by blue sky

About This Project

Louis Jeck Prestidge  |  Jonathan Benson  |  Michelle Rowley

Each year fellowships are awarded to selected graduating students from the BA (Hons) degree courses within the Wirral Met HE art school. The fellowships allow these graduates the opportunity to continue their art practice in the college studios with access to the art school and its facilities.

They provide help and support to students and staff, using their experience to encourage and mentor students, as they develop their work towards further post graduate study or other professional opportunities.

This year the exhibition features a collaborative project undertaken by the 2018 fellows Louis Jeck Prestidge and Jonathan Benson with WMC lecturer Michelle Rowley.  Responding to her site-specific MA research project, set in the stalled Liverpool Innovation Park, Michelle commissioned the fellows to develop a collaborative film work.

This invitation provided a creative space for Louis and Jonny to reflect on a new set of ideas and determine how their own personal practices might engage with the themes Michelle was investigating. ‘Hunting Ground’, is the result of this collaborative experiment.  Drawing together ideas concerning the re-imagining of place and assigning anthropological meaning, the empty ‘parkland’ reverts to a hunting ground where metaphorical hunting prompts open questions as to the purpose of the chase.

The exhibition will be open Wednesday-Sunday from Saturday 2nd February until Sunday 17th March.  For more information about exhibitions at the Williamson, visit our Exhibitions pages.

About the artists:

Louis Jeck Prestidge:

Louis’ practice centres around the forming of narratives by combining his own digital films with found clips from Youtube. These clips have been carefully chosen to articulate the relationship he has with the moving image and how it has exposed and reaffirmed our understanding of masculinity in the 21st century. These films are a continuation of his previous exploration in sculpture and installation. “Through my practice I have found that I am able to best express my inner personality through painting and filmmaking.”

His most vivid memories of childhood were watching sporting events on television, particularly individual sport. His interest lies in how a psychological narrative develops over a period of time. We as the viewer participate in a very unpredictable theatre of chance. The two men are in a state of high anxiety, trying to outflank each other on the battlefield. The physiognomy of the sportsman is a very incriminating one, we see them at their most vulnerable. These themes of sporting narrative combined with that of filmic narrative explore this vulnerability of the male body.

Jonathan Benson

This body of work is a product of an expanding process, a personal exploration into Western visual culture via destruction, preservation and transformation. Historian and Cultural theorist Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas describes the transcendental nature of archetypes; or how images of great symbolic, intellectual, and emotional power emerge in Western antiquity and then reappear and are reanimated in art and culture of later times. Through the use of traditional portraiture, abstraction and continuous lines, the brow of an Elgin Marble repeats and erodes into the present, merging with and becoming the icons of our age.

“I’m preoccupied with modern culture, or rather its very purpose is to pre-occupy me, via social media feeds, video playlists, personalized advertisements etc. I consider this digital rabbit hole as one of my many addictions. Like nature acts upon a sculpture, digitalization has in some ways started to erode me.”

Jonathan’s work conveys moments brimming with potential, allowing for a wide range of interpretations from tragedy to hope. Themes of artificial technology, ‘social strive’ and mental health, are themes that echo through the work, influenced particularly by Adrian Ghenie, Matthew Monahan, Tom French and Francis Bacon.

Michelle Rowley

Our relationship to the natural world and our psychological attachments and cultural values linked to landscapes and the built environment inform Michelle Rowley’s practice. Her work explores how, through conscious design or informal and improvised social use, we construct places of meaning and personal significance. She is interested in how this happens and especially in how spaces and sites are appropriated and subverted from their original intended use.

Her recently completed MA project investigated these ideas through creative strategies seeking to make visible the mundane and overlooked business parks of Liverpool’s Edge Lane and Wavertree Technology Park. Since they are named as ‘parks’ she questions where this sense of ‘parkness’ resides, and what this quality might be? Using a multidisciplinary approach with film, photography and sculpture to embody her interpretation of the site, she documents her presence and that of others, making visible an improvised public realm in an otherwise private space.

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Exhibitions, What’s On
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art, exhibition, what's on, Wirral Met