Liverpool Biennial 2010: Gareth Kemp and Nick Sykes at Bold Street Coffee.

Bold Street Coffee

Art On the days I've been "doing the Biennial", after much initial humming and harring (due to the usual malfunction in my decision engine), lunch has been taken at the Bold Street Coffee shop, an (as far as I can tell) independent cafe which was built on the rubble of the old Coffee Union.

Having only been open a few months, it still has an eager quality of wanting to please. There's a fascinating production diary here which underscores the many choices the owner had to make in relation to how the coffee would be made and how the fixtures effect the kind of mood that he's trying to create.

I do like the relaxed atmosphere of the place, young yet mature, like the suburban French cafes that appear in the films of the French New Wave (with no smoking). On my first visit, a Jean Seberg lookalike asked me to watch her belongings while she went to the toilet. Aaah romance!

The food is tasty, the ham and mustard sandwich a particular favourite.  I haven't risked the coffee yet, since as we know caffeine and art don't really mix with me.  I don't want a repeat of my shaky lollop through the Whitworth Art Gallery.  What I can say that it's the kind of place that carries copies of Monocle as idle reading material.

It's also a venue for the Independents Biennial and a rather good selection of paintings from Nick Sykes and Gareth Kemp which are well worth seeing if you're in the mood for something a bit existential.  Sykes attempts to create bleak urban spaces, but blurring the shapes to the point of abstraction.

Kemp, who I know from saying hello to at private views and because we worked under the same roof once, has spent several years painting snowy wastelands inspired by a selection of old family photographs employing an unusual approach to composition in an attempt to unsettle the viewer.

Like so many of the works at this Biennial, what both of seem to be attempting is to communicate the more abstract aspects of their memory to the viewer, Kemp obviously more literally than Sykes.  This certainly isn't the kind of identikit prints that coffee shops usually cover their walls with.  Good.

No comments:

Post a comment