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Published on August 31st, 2016 | by LTWF

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Festival Highlight; Gollon and McEvoy

What is NAKED MUSIC? It’s both the new album by Eleanor McEvoy (released 2016) and a new series of paintings by Chris Gollon interpreting the songs from it.

In early 2015, Eleanor McEvoy purchased a painting by Chris Gollon: a female nude pouring champagne, entitled ‘Champagne Sheila’. The work began to inspire the concept for her forthcoming album ‘NAKED MUSIC’, which features many of her own latest compositions, but also some new songs co-written with Dave Rotheray (ex- The Beautiful South) and Lloyd Cole.

“The first time I met Eleanor we immediately clicked artistically, albeit from a different art form. I was sent a demo for the new album, NAKED MUSIC, and invited to make one painting, perhaps for the front cover. Although the songs are written brilliantly from a woman’s point of view, when I began on the first painting I noticed that it was taking my work into an area I had never been before. A good example would be ‘The Thought of You’, the last track on the new album, where because of Eleanor’s expressive lyrics, I was able to actually understand how a woman longs for a man. A similar thing happened in all the songs, hence me ending up doing 25 paintings.” Chris Gollon

At Louder Than Words Eleanor treated audience members to an acoustic set within the exhibition, including a new composition inspired by the paintings and written as part of the ongoing experiment in “boundary crossing” between the two artists. Although he has exhibited nationally and internationally in museums and cathedrals, this is also Chris Gollon’s first ever solo exhibition in Manchester, paintings that are all interpretations of Eleanor McEvoy’s songs. After the performance, audience members were treated to an in conversation and an open Q&A session hosted by Louder’s John Robb.

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Chris Gollon is an established name in British painting. He has exhibited in St Paul’s Cathedral with Bill Viola and has works in major public collections including the British Museum. He exhibited with Yoko Ono, David Bowie and Gavin Turk in ROOT, a crossover exhibition of contemporary music and art created by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, at Chisenhale Gallery, London. Gollon was featured on Alan Yentob’s BBC1 programme ‘Imagine’ and the latest book on his life and work ‘Chris Gollon: Humanity in Art’, by art historian Tamsin Pickeral, was endorsed by Bill Bryson OBE and published in 2010. He was also made First Artist in Residence and Fellow of The Institute of Advanced Study (2009), Durham University. In 2015, his national touring exhibition to English cathedrals ‘Incarnation, Mary & Women from the Bible’ attracted much critical acclaim. Chris Gollon has a lifelong interest in music, was a friend of The Skids and enjoys the company of musicians. Song lyrics very often lead to exciting new imagery and collaborations, as with his current artistic response to the songs on Eleanor McEvoy’s new album, which gives the title to his new series of paintings: Naked Music.

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Eleanor McEvoy (born 22 January 1967) is one of Ireland‘s most accomplished contemporary singer/songwriters. McEvoy composed the song “Only A Woman’s Heart”, title track of A Woman’s Heart, the best-selling Irish album in Irish history. McEvoy’s life as a musician began at the age of four when she began playing piano. At the age of eight she took up violin. Upon finishing school she attended Trinity College, Dublin where she studied music by day and worked in pit orchestras and music clubs by night.

McEvoy graduated from Trinity with an Honors Degree in music, and spent four months busking in New York City. In 1988, she was accepted into the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra where she spent four years before leaving to concentrate on songwriting.

Naked Music is McEvoy’s twelfth studio album. The album was recorded at the Grange Studio in Norfolk, UK. McEvoy recorded the tracks by “studio-performing,” in other words, playing the songs as she would in a live performance. The album features exclusive artwork by famed painter Chris Gollon.


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