Monday, 27 August 2012

A Hole in the Wall - A Grand Day out in Walsall

High on our list of  'must visits' on our 'Summer Staycation' this year was a day out in Walsall, primarily to visit the New Art Gallery Walsall to see their current exhibitions.  Mark Power's exhibition Black Country Stories mixes photographs, video and sounds of everyday life in and around the Black Country.  Power says his aim is "to reveal the splendour of the forgotten and the everyday, where a quiet yet simmering beauty begins to emerge."  The image above of the back of a derelict building juxtapositioned with a mural of a hole in the wall caught my eye in the gallery. Then to our complete surprise later in the day we discovered the real mural quite by accident and below is my own photograph of it.  Looks like the tree was chopped down.  

The mural was commissioned in 2007 by the the Hole in the Wall Curtain Shop which is a labyrinth of rooms stocked floor to ceiling with curtain, home furnishing and dress making fabrics. Quite a paradise for me with my passion for textiles. The place just goes on and on, over 3 floors plus an attic full of remnant bargains. The Hole in the Wall mural can be viewed through a hole in the wall just by the entrance to the shop.

Despite being overwhelmed by the sheer choice of fabrics I came away with some ticking material to make a floor bean bag and hessian for rag rugging. 

Amongst the exhibits is Power's series of photographs of footwear seen from pavement level and against the grey of the concrete paving. One of his videos, filmed in a  local beauty salon was of a girl having her face made up and false nails applied and painted.   The accompanying commentary was a list of names describing the colours of make up and nail varnish that read like a poem and spoken by a Black Country woman. Another film showed a tattoo being applied to someone's arm and two people having their bottom lips pierced which even though I found quite gruesome and wanted to look away, still held me captivated.

Gavin Turk's Bin Bag Sculpture in Bronze

Also at Walsall Gallery was Street, an exhibition bringing together artists who explore the darker side of the urban environment.  A street can mean home, community, and wealth but it can also be a place of violence, loneliness, decay and corruption.

On then to the Black Country Arms for a tasty lunch of faggots and peas and some excellent real ale.

Spotted this interesting view through the window

A really interesting day almost on our doorstep.

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