One of the hardest things about being so far away is missing out on events like the current exhibition of art work by talented photographer Matt Ford. So I am indebted to Samantha Elmes, student at Liverpool John Moores University, for her review of the opening night, even though it leaves me tinged with sadness for not being able to attend in person. Now read on…
Parr Street, Studio Two turned into an enthralling museum of misfits on October 6th. Matt Ford’s art work, taking inspiration from love and sensuality, was the making, the background, the focus and the subtlety of the whole evening. In short, not even the talents of Millie Dollar and her feather boa could detract from it. Surrounded by a variety of people, the cool, the artistic, the young, the old, the slick and the misplaced, I got the impression that this wasn’t for the exclusive. This was for the multitude.
A particular print, ‘He Loves Me’, held all the sensitivity of the ‘he loves me not’ daisy rhyme it depicts, and yet collided with distinguished adult elements. ‘Tease’, ‘Voyeur’and ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ were visual excitements with the brashness of sex and everything intertwined. Every image stood unique and simple, erotic and demanding. It was with an ease that Ford’s imagery set the tone that the event undoubtedly followed. In one room there was the sensation of hanging with the ‘Mods and the Rockers’ and in the next I expected a ‘groovy baby’ accompanied by velvet flares.
Purposefully or not, it became not just an art show but a journey of decades. And the funny thing being those pictures never looked out-of-place once. Even when Millie Dollar and Cocabelle strutted in to the mix it seemed oh so natural that Dollar should whirl around a few tassels and Cocabelle should belt out tunes that had all the attitude of rock and roll with soulful bluesy undertones. With a slight reminder that we were, in actual fact, in the 21st century, her rendition of Emeli Sandi ‘Heaven’ echoed hauntingly, and even though she was perched on a stool with a broken leg she still managed to move the rest of us. She followed with her own song ‘Am I Falling?’ If anyone else was unsure, I know I certainly did. For her bleached bombshell hair do, for Millie Dollar’s seductive stance, for the electric fires, for the bongo drums in the corner, for the red wine and the barman.
When the final act of Millie Dollar arrived there was a collective fall backwards into the era of stockings, garters and red lipstick, of cigar smoke and whiskey, of underground grit pre-existing a sexual revolution. Although Millie Dollar’s feather boa and enticing emerald-green corset is another expression of art now, it is still a testament to the boundaries pushed and experimentation mirrored within Ford’s art work.
So when the next Art Show comes around be sure to sneak your name on to the guest list and you’ll understand what I mean when I say, quite simply, that the title of my favourite piece there described the whole evening in two words.
Flat out. It was completely flat out.
The Art Show continues until 16 October at Studio 2 at Parr Street, if you are lucky enough to be closer to Liverpool than I am, make sure you don’t miss out!
Photographs by Alexandra Christian, used by permission.