Review // Grayson Perry “The Vanity of Small Differences” @ 20:21 Visual Art Centre

On Saturday it was another hot day in Scunthorpe and we needed a break from walking around town, which by the way was very busy due to the continental market.

We decided to go have a look at the 20:21 Visual Art Centre as my partner is a fan of the artist Grayson Perry. I hadn’t heard too much about him or seen much of his work before but I hear there is an interesting Channel 4 programme surrounding this exhibition.
This exhibition is quite a big thing to art lovers and it’s really impressive that the Scunthorpe art centre curators 20:21 have secured it.

I haven’t been in the Art centre much over the past few years as I can’t say I usually find looking at art all that entertaining and I’m probably not alone on that. However upon entering the glass hallway to the main gallery I was amazed by the bright & colourful wall hangings and floor vinyl from artist Jason Wilsher-Mills and his exhibition Unexpected Engagement.

Jason Wilsher-Mills’ life-affirming artworks are a direct response to his experiences as a disabled artist, and the challenges this represents. His work is bizarre, colourful and striking, in recent years Jason has come to truly embrace the possibilities of digital technologies, creating new works using digital 2D and 3D printing technology and there were a few interesting sculptures around. The exhibition included his sculpture Brave Billy Boy, previously exhibited at Tate Modern and the “Hull Elvis”.

On to the main gallery and there was plenty of crafting going on for little ones on the big table. The gallery was quite open and the main focus was the Grayson Perry Tapestries.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect and if I’m honest, I probably wasn’t expecting to be impressed. But just standing in front of the first large scale tapestry, it’s a lot to take in. There is so much detail, big and small. Admittedly, it’s not everyone’s style but I loved the bold and colourful stories they told. You would have to sit for quite a while in front of each one to fully appreciate every aspect of detail and thought that went into the original sketches. The tapestry machine that produced these large scale pieces of art is seriously high tech to produce something this brilliant.

Inspired by the 18th century painter William Hogarth’s moral tale, A Rake’s Progress, Grayson Perry’s tapestries follow the life of a fictional character called Tim Rakewell, as he develops from infancy through his teenage and middle years, to his untimely death in a car accident. (Not so cheery but it’s well done.)

They depict many of the eccentricities and peculiarities associated with life in the UK, and are at the same time moving, amusing and thought provoking as I mentioned earlier these were made in parallel with a Channel 4 documentary series, All in the Best Possible Taste.

The Vanity of Small Differences is a Hayward Touring exhibition. The Vanity of Small Differences was gifted to the British Council Collection and the Arts Council Collection by the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television and the Art Fund, and additional support from AlixPartners.

I don’t really want to include images for 2 reasons, one I’m not quite sure on the copyright issues and two, it’s better if you go see them for yourself.

I think the best thing about it was, when I got home. It was too hot to do a lot else so I grabbed a sketchbook and started doodling my own Grayson Perry inspired drawing. Admittedly I do feel like my drawing style is child like, I’ve never been a great drawer but have always found an interest in digital art. So I had a draw, scanned it in and messed about in photo editing and this was the end result. I saw a few members of the public sat in front on the tapestries sketching away so it would be really interesting to see anyone else’s artwork or interpretation.

If you are looking for something to do, with or without kids. Give the Art centre a visit.

And if you do want to see some pictures online then please visit 20:21 website here.

The exhibition is on until the start of September so still plenty of time to get yourself down there.

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