Alexis Teplin’s biggest exhibition to date arrives at the Bluecoat, Getintothis’ Michael Maloney bypasses the Christmas shoppers to take it in.
Saturday afternoon, is never a good time to try and weave your way through the city centre.
Dodging chuggers, sidestepping buskers and now with Christmas shopping in full swing, there are even bigger throngs of people, it’s almost exhausting enough to make you give up and trudge back home.
Thankfully in the midst of this chaos, there is Bluecoat which always offers a welcome respite from the rampant consumerism that surrounds it.
This afternoon we’re here to take in the solo exhibition of Alexis Teplin, the British-American artist.
Alexis Teplin’s work is rooted in abstract painting but her work spans across disciplines including sculpture and performance. Teplin uses historical references in her pieces to construct performative installations based in seduction, artificiality and cultural signification.
The It’s My Pleasure to Participate exhibition mixes disciplines from traditional painting and sculpture to textile, video and performance art. Teplin pulls all these different elements together through a common thread of fragmentation.
In Gallery One painting Liv is a burst of colour as lime greens stroke vibrant purples in freeform movements, Of all these follies sits centrally in the gallery space. Set up ready and posing for a still life painting the collection of ceramic and glass fruit and vases combine to create a modern-day take on this most classical of art subject.
In the central gallery paintings Falling in and Keates Favourite merge colours like peacock camouflage. Bright colours of orange, coral and mustard brush together in abstract autumnal landscapes that evoke David Hockney’s most recent paintings.
Sat squat on a steel frame in the centre of the gallery M. stiches together different fabrics which break up the gallery space forcing visitors to literally weave around the room, does this play into Teplin‘s concept of fragmentation? We can’t progress linearly around the space but rather have to divert around pieces.
Blown glass pieces The Absent Author and We accept it creates small desert islands trapped inside vases as sand, ceramic palm leaves and peaches sit together in their own world, palm leaves and peaches are reoccurring motifs in the exhibition.
Two video installations are also screened inside the central gallery, one shows the process of painting the mural which adorns the upper gallery as Teplin and her colleague clothed in workwear that Teplin has fashioned out of different fabrics and adorned with various motifs work atop scaffolding to produce this large scale artwork, it’s an interesting insight into the artist’s practice.
The other video The Lives of Women a performance piece sees two performers dressed in robes discussing philosophy.
In Gallery 3 we find untitled an oval canvas which looks like an artist’s board full of paint marks, strokes and brushes although here you can see each stroke and swirl has been carefully considered rather than daubed unthoughtfully.
Gallery 4 holds the mural we saw being painting in the video, Palm fronds and peaches a vast combination of wavvy lines, peaches and palm trees.
This Self for Materialism combines painting with different materials on the canvases, the different sized canvases create an abstract chaotic image, the body of a woman perhaps in the bottom right?
Is this a painting of a throng of people all rushing round to consume in the materialism?
If so then the image is eerily similar to the scene playing outside as shoppers scurry around Liverpool One for their Christmas shopping.
Today’s viewing also took in a 10-minute performance, taking place throughout the galleries we follow two performers as they engaged in a dialogue about politics, self and society.
It was hard to decipher the meaning behind their conversation but it was interesting watching the performers interact with artworks, carrying vases and sitting on sculptures it broke the most sacred rule of art galleries ‘look but don’t touch’ and it was thrilling to see, if only it gave us the audience license to do the same.
It took us less than an hour to take in the exhibition, it’s not the same as an extensive retrospective which the Tate offers, but if you have a lunch break or want some respite from the chaos of town then what better way to find it than taking in this exhibition allows you to take a breath and reflect and reconnect.
Photos by Getintothis’ Warren Millar