Bernard Charnley-AirSpace Studio Artist

Bernard Charnley has been a studio artist at AirSpace since the very beginning. To find out about Bernard's work please see his website



Recollection Private View:


A paper polar bear is engulfed in a hurricane of polystyrene balls and is imprisoned in glass. This is the first scene you encounter at the Recollection exhibition at the AirSpace Gallery. It is as you are passing by this window display, that inquisitiveness leads you on into the gallery itself where you are confronted by Tallulah Miers’ projection of said polar bear onto a hanging of paper. The balls sweep in to gradually cover the bear, a tragic reminder of the melting polar ice caps, whilst maintaining an air of meditation with the repetitive imagery and rhythmic sounds of the ocean.

Scattered and disguised throughout the exhibition are Stuart Porter’s lead sculptures; ghostly souvenirs of a time passed. A clock without hands or cuckoo hangs on the wall, whilst a record sits on the player without a needle. A pencil sits within the wall, illuminated but out of reach like a fading memory. The sculptures appear to be soft yet like the nature of the material they are made from, they are heavy with the memories they hold.

These small domestic items are dominated by Ben Chetter’s looming clothes closet, from which emanates the sound of a distant disco and sure enough, hidden behind is the revealing of what is in the closet. Chetter’s face is twice disguised, once with the mask of a stag and the other by contrast a dancing glitter painted face; demonstrating his struggle with peoples perceptions of masculinity and sexuality. The work continues to bombard us with camp, homosexual imagery versus masculine connotations made ugly. A clear message.

A whole 20ft of meditative drawing winds its way up and down one of the AirSpace walls. Unlike a maze there is no path just line after line of narrative that leads the viewer by staccato lengths into the compulsive mind of the artist. Or maybe just back to where you started. Andy Reynolds’ drawing comments on the instinctive, like an unconscious doodle spilling and out of control.

At the back of the gallery is a darkened room, lit by a star speckled chicken coop. It seems that there is something about to burst from within the coop, a moment of enlightenment waiting to be released but imprisoned by lengths of pine wood and walls of agricultural plastic. These mundane objects hold onto this moment, perhaps to be released at another time.

ReCollection’s private view was a great night with the gallery reaching full capacity requiring a one out one in policy on the door. Alongside the opening of the new show AirSpace joined Future Shorts in Creationism, a night of music, video, photography and performance art at the Underground in Hanley. Miers brought her work into the club with a performance piece, seeing her slowly pull undone a knitted blanket was almost as frustrating as the polar bear’s fate was tragic with the delicate wool that had been time consumingly put together spiralling onto the floor. Performances by local bands Coda, Cats in the Alley and Rachel Rimmer were powerful and fun with the smooth flow interspersed by the video work, allowing each art form the full attention it deserved.