This theme of change continued as I parked the car outside what used to be the civic centre, which now houses the council’s one stop shop, new library and art gallery. I remembered Huyton Gallery is also housed within the library, thus signifying their close relationship and how Knowsley strives to put art and culture into the heart of their communities.
Although the work is all connected by her strong design ideas there is a wide range of medium used. Of particular note and perhaps unusual in a galley are a selection of wallpaper designs she did for the company Graham and Brown, and Amoeba Pool, a work made with rhubarb lead crystal glass which is either green or red, depending whether it is lit by natural or artificial light; wood – carved with a chain saw; bronze and clay.
Cassell also revealed that she is dyslexic, left handed and (perhaps unusual for an artist) has a keen interest in maths. In her view this helped her interest in creating work initially in 2 dimensions and then imaginatively converting it to 3 dimensions as it allows her to use both sides of her brain the logic and creative side.
Another interesting influence on her concrete work executed for this exhibition was the work of artist William George Mitchell. A piece of his that was originally commissioned for Kirkby has been brought out of storage and is now on display in the new library. He was also responsible for the magnificent doors on the outside of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and is interested in line, form and space and translating it into contemporary language.
Geometric forms found in nature are also represented in this exhibition, which brings a warmth to a lot of Cassell’s work. This is exemplified by Thistle Head (2009) and a series inspired by the Lake District which included pieces called Echo, Tulip and Pendula.
Halima Cassell: In Focus continues at Kirkby Gallery until 19 April 2014
Originally published on Art In Liverpool.