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The Art Show review at Parr Street, Studio 2

by Samantha Elmes. Published Thu 13 Oct 2011 14:33, last updated: 13/10/11

Parr Street's Studio 2 was transformed into an enthralling museum of misfits with Matt Ford’s artwork taking inspiration from love and sensuality, providing the background, focus and the subtlety for the whole show.

In short, not even the talents of Millie Dollar and her feather boa could detract from it. Surrounded by a mishmash of people from the cool, the artistic, the young, the old, the slick and the misplaced, this wasn't for the exclusive. This was for everyone.

A particular print He loves me, held all the sensitivity of the ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ schoolgirl daisychain rhyme it depicts, with distinguished adult elements.

Tease, Voyeur and Till Death do us part were visually exciting with the brashness of sex and everything intertwined. Every image there stood unique and simple, erotic and demanding. It was with an ease that Ford's imagery set the tone that the event undoubtedly followed.

In one room there was the sensation of hanging with the Mods and the Rockers and in the next I expected a ‘groovy baby’ accompanied by velvet flares. It became not just an art show but a journey of decades.

The funny thing being those pictures never looked out of place once. Even when Millie Dollar and Cocabelle strutted into the mix it seemed oh so natural that Dollar should whirl around a few tassels and Cocabelle should belt out tunes that had all the attitude of rock and roll with soulful bluesy undertones.

With a slight reminder that we were, in actual fact, in the 21st century, her rendition of Emeli Sandé's ‘Heaven’ echoed hauntingly, and even though she was perched on a stool with a broken leg she still managed to move everybody.

She followed with her own song Am I Falling? If anyone else was unsure, I know I certainly did. I fell for her bleached bombshell hairdo, Millie Dollar's seductive stance, for the electric fires, for the bongo drums in the corner, the red wine and the barman.

When the final Act of Millie Dollar arrived there was a collective fall backwards into the next era of stockings, garters and red lipstick, of cigar smoke and whiskey, of underground grit pre-existing a sexual revolution.

Although, Millie Dollar's feather boa and enticing emerald green corset is another expression of art now, it is still a testament to the boundaries pushed and experimentation mirrored within Ford's artwork.

So when the next Art Show comes around be sure to sneak your name on to the guest list and you’ll understand, quite simply that the title of my favourite piece described the whole evening in two words. Flat out.

Artwork and photos by Matt Ford


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