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Liverpool artists revisited in Kirkby Gallery show for culture year

Four key artists who made 20th Century Liverpool their home will be celebrated in a new exhibition opening in Kirkby this spring.

The Likeness of Things, at Kirkby Gallery from May 10 to July 16, will focus on the work of Maurice Cockrill, Sam Walsh, John Baum and Adrian Henri.

It forms part of Knowsley’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture and will be curated by Henri’s long-term partner Catherine Marcangeli.

Organisers say it is the first exhibition of its kind to tell the story of the four men and their artistic practice, celebrating both their work and their friendships.

All four artists started teaching at Liverpool Art College in the 1960s, though they had arrived in the city from different places. They quickly became friends and collaborated in the busy art scene of 60s Liverpool.

In the early 60s, Henri sang his poems with Walsh on guitar in the basement of Hope Hall – which later became the Everyman theatre, and they wrote an art manifesto for their joint exhibition at the Portal Gallery in London.

Above: Maurice Cockrill Scillonian Pumps. In the collection of the Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport. Top: Sam Walsh and Adrian Henri at Hope Hall. Courtesy of the Adrian Henri Estate archive.

In the late 1960s, Cockrill performed poetry alongside Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, and a few years later, Baum painted Cockrill’s portrait in An Afternoon at Windermere House, where poet Roger McGough lived.

And while each developed different artistic styles, their work was often exhibited together at home and abroad.

The exhibition will concentrate on their work from the 1970s when they brought a contemporary twist to traditional artistic genres like portrait, landscape and still life painting.

Highlights include Baum’s Five Girls on the Steps of the Art College (1973), Cockrill’s large scale Scillonian Pumps (1974), Henri’s prizewinning Painting I (1972) and Walsh’s Portrait of Ivon Hitchens (1974) as well as a selection of works that haven’t been on public display for more than 40 years.

The Likeness of Things: Baum – Cockrill – Henri – Walsh is at Kirkby Gallery from May 10 to July 16.


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