Walker show celebrates contemporary Liverpool painters


The Walker Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of art by some of the most exciting contemporary painters currently working in the city.

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool, which opens on April 29, is artist-led and features work from 21 painters who live or work in Liverpool or its surroundings.

Among them are Frances Disley, The Singh Twins, Gary Sollars, David Jacques, Pete Clarke and Jason Thompson, along with a number of early-career artists, while the exhibition is co-curated by painters Josie Jenkins and Brendan Lyons.

They approached the Walker because of what is felt to be a disconnect between many practicing artists and art galleries today, with artists at the beginning of their careers in particular saying they didn’t see themselves or their work represented in larger, public galleries.

The Liverpool painting scene reaches across the city, with many artists enjoying shared studio spaces, such as Arena Studios and Gallery, The Bluecoat studios, The Bridewell Studios & Gallery and The Royal Standard.

One exhibiting artist is Cherie Grist who is the co-founder and director of Bold Place Ltd, which opened last year and offers a creative hub designed specifically for women, offering studio spaces, workshops and career guidance.

Millie Toyin Olateju, who is based at Bold Place Ltd, is also features in the Refractive Pool show.


The exhibition forms part of a wider Refractive Pool project which Lyons and Jenkins have created over the last four years and which also includes a website and a book which features the exhibiting artists along with many more who work in and around the city.

It is expected the exhibition will also be augmented by artists' talks, workshops and online activity.

Co-curator Brendan Lyons, who creates three-dimensional items from paint alone, says: "We've been planning this for a few years and we knew it was going to be a painting show. It shows off a range of painting practices.

"There's been a lot of faith from the Walker to trust us to do it. They have been very hands off - it's very much an artist-led exhibition."

Fellow curator Josie Jenkins adds: “Liverpool’s contemporary painting community represents a diverse mix of individuals and artistic practices, perhaps unified only in their use of the medium of paint and a shared current location. Not all the exhibiting artists were born here, but they’ve been able to develop their practice within this city’s thriving, supportive network.

“We hope this exhibition will give visitors an insight into the varied and exciting range of art being made in the many studios around Liverpool, which is too often hidden away from public view.”

The full list of exhibiting artists is: Pete Clarke, Joana De Oliveira Guerreiro, Frances Disley, Cherie Grist, David Jacques, Louis Jeck Prestidge, Josie Jenkins, Gareth Kemp, Anna Ketskemety, Sumuyya Khader, Brendan Lyons, Richard Meaghan, Brian Mountford, Millie Toyin Olateju, M B O’Toole, James Quin, The Singh Twins, Luke Skiffington, Gary Sollars, Jason Thompson and Zahra.

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool is at the Walker Art Gallery from April 29 to January 8, 2023 and is a ‘pay what you think’ exhibition.


Top: Curators Josie Jenkins and Brendan Lyons