Art in Manchester – Castlefield Gallery: 35 years of Sculpture, Berni Searle & Victoria Baths

Art in Manchester
Laura White, Pierced, Pierced, Pierced Form (Dalston). 2011 – Castlefield Gallery

No Particular Place to Go? 35 years of sculpture at Castlefield Gallery

Venue: Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Exhibition Dates: Friday 6 September – Sunday 27 October 2019
Public Preview: 6–8pm, Thursday 5 September 2019 

Art in Manchester
Hilary Jack, Turquoise Bag in a Tree, 2016 – Castlefield Gallery

Artists: James Ackerley, Sir Anthony Caro, Nicola Ellis, Ana Genovés, Lee Grandjean, Charles Hewlings, Hilary Jack, Stephanie James, Stephen Lewis, Jeff Lowe, Michael Lyons, Henry Moore, Jill Randall, Veronica Ryan, Laura White.

Established by artists in 1984, 2019 marks thirty-five years for Castlefield Gallery. Curated in collaboration with art historian Dr Clare O’Dowd and artist / curator John Plowman of Beacon Bureau, No Particular Place to Go? is informed by extensive research into Castlefield Gallery’s archives and exhibition history and highlighting the gallery’s rich history of engagement with British sculpture and the role it has had, and still has as a place for the ‘sculptural zeitgeist’.

Lee Grandjean, Sisters (A with E), 2016 – Castlefield Gallery

The artists invited to take part in No Particular Place to Go? have all exhibited at Castlefield Gallery during the last thirty-five years, with the curators inviting them to return to a place that once acted as a temporary ‘home’ for their work. To this end No Particular Place to Go? welcomes Sir Anthony Caro’s Table Piece XCVIII back to Castlefield Gallery, on loan from The Whitworth. The intimacy of Caro’s Table Pieces is echoed in Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure-Bowl (1960), also on loan for the exhibition from The Whitworth, a small bronze that not only reflects on Moore’s working methods but is indicative of the five bronze maquettes by Moore shown at Castlefield Gallery in 1987. Other exhibiting artists include Nicola Ellis, Ana Genovés, Lee Grandjean, Hilary Jack, Stephanie James, Stephen Lewis, Jeff Lowe, Michael Lyons, Jill Randall, Veronica Ryan, and Laura White.

Nicola Ellis, Dead powder series_ Missing bits, 2019. Mild steel and dead powder. Photo courtesy Jules Lister – Castlefield Gallery

For No Particular Place to Go? sculptor Charles Hewlings has been commissioned to work with Manchester-based sculptor James Ackerley. Together they will develop and exhibit a site-specific sculptural structure, one designed to house and display the other exhibiting artists’ works. Hewlings and Ackerley’s commission will extend across and throughout the gallery spaces, integrating with and challenging Castlefield Gallery’s distinctive interior architecture, giving the exhibiting sculptures a ‘particular place to go’.


Berni Searle Photographs donated to Manchester Art Gallery

From 10th September – Manchester Art Gallery

Two powerful photographs by South African artist Berni Searle have been acquired for Manchester Art Gallery through the Valeria Napoleone XX Contemporary Art Society (VNXXCAS) initiative. The museum is receiving the work through this scheme after making a strong case for addressing the representation of female artists within their existing collections.

Berni Searle works with lens-based media to stage narratives connected to history, memory and place. Using her own body, she addresses race, the commodification of the female body and its power in myth making. Her work connects to universal emotions of vulnerability, loss and beauty.



Untitled (Red), 1998 is a play on the racial classification of ‘coloured’ used under apartheid, the government’s term for mixed ethnicities. Searle covered herself in spices in reference to the Dutch East India Company’s trade. This brought white colonisers into contact with the local inhabitants and slaves of the Cape of Good Hope, and as a consequence having children of multiple cultural heritage. She said ‘I chose to cover myself with various colours – red, yellow, white, brown, in an attempt to resist any definition of identity which is static, or can be placed into neat categories. Placing myself or my body in the work, exposes other aspects of my identity, for example, gender.’ Here Searle’s mouth is covered, and unable to speak, she confronts us directly with her eyes.

In wake of, 2014 was created after the 2012 Marikana massacre in which striking mineworkers were shot at close range by the South African police. In this closely cropped image, Searle’s body is covered with coal dust and positioned as if laid out in death. Her hands hold gold Kruger Rand coins, a symbol of the wealth created by the mine owners in direct contrast to the migrant workers who suffer under systems of racial, gender, class and economic segregation. The body here is presented as a unit of labour and memorialises women involved in the mining industry.

Manchester Art Gallery’s collection has relatively few works by women artists but many depicting women, especially nude women, created by male artists for male patrons. In using her body in her work, Searle takes back control of female representation. Although her work comes out of the context of South African history and politics, it raises universal questions which transcend place and speak to works in the collection, the gallery’s history and the people of Manchester.

Valeria Napoleone XX Contemporary Art Society (VN XX CAS) is a joint initiative of philanthropist Valeria Napoleone and the Contemporary Art Society. The scheme purchases and donates a significant work by a living female artist each year to a UK museum that that has made a strong case for addressing the representation of female artists within their existing collections. Past acquisitions have included work by Martine Syms for Leeds Art Gallery and Aliza Nisenbaum for Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery.

Berni Searle, Artist said: “I am delighted and honoured to enter the permanent collection of the Manchester Art Gallery, and I am grateful to the Contemporary Art Society and Valeria Napoleone for their continued patronage of women in the arts.”

Valeria Napoleone said: “I am delighted with this acquisition of Berni Searle’s two outstanding photographs, ‘Untitled (Red)’ and ‘In Wake of’, since they not only illuminate themes of gender and identity but also, significantly, South Africa’s anguished colonial past.


Islington Mill Art Academy Presents SIX FEET DEEP at Victoria Baths in Manchester 

Multimedia art exhibition and art making workshops at Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Manchester, M130FE

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th September 11am-4pm FREE

Six artists respond to the archives, architecture and aesthetic of Manchester’s water palace

Art in Manchester
Six foot Deep – Hanaa Cara performs in front of Splash artwork by Nancy Collantine.
Photo: Donna Wood – Victoria Baths

From July to September, six Manchester artists, Ruby Unsworth, Daniel Wiltshire, Donna Wood, Hanaa Cara, Nancy Collantine and Paddy O’Donnell, have been taking part in an artists’ residency at Victoria Baths. Their aim was to create original artworks in response to this iconic building and its story. 

They will be sharing their residency experience and artistic processes in a weekend of free workshops and an exhibition of their work at Victoria Baths during the Swim for Restoration event on 7th and 8th September. 

Art in Manchester
Six Feet Deep =- Victoria Baths

The artists have responded to the social history, architecture and former and current uses of the Victoria Baths. Their works will include painting, drawings, performance, film and print.

‘No time like the present’ free drop-in workshop sessions

The artists will share their artistic responses and experiences with visitors, swimmers and spectators during the weekend’s event and guide them in creating a micro residency of their own.This might involve making a short film or audio art piece in one of three workshops; joining a free drop in drawing and collage session, or responding to the building in one of our 20 Six Feet Deep sketchbooks, kindly supplied by Jackson’s Art Supplies.

The exhibition and free drop in drawing and collage sessions willbe going on throughout the weekend from 11am-4pm.  Two film-making workshops and one audio art workshop will also be taking place.  These are suitable for over 11’s and cost £2 per person, booking details can be found on the Victoria Baths website


Reminder: Jenny Steele’s new exhibition at Georges Dock in Liverpool starts next week.

The Maiden Voyage by Jenny Steele

8 – 22 September 2019

The Maiden Voyage Balustrade – Jenny Steele

VENUE: Georges Dock Plaza, Georges Dock Building, Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1DD

Artist Jenny Steele will unveil a bold new site-specific installation on Liverpool’s Georges Dock Plaza that will highlight Liverpool’s historically important transatlantic links to North America.

Rockefeller and Cunard – Jenney Steele

The Maiden Voyage is a new site-specific installation and dance work that has developed out of a research-led project by contemporary visual artist Jenny Steele. The Maiden Voyage takes inspiration from to the spread of ‘Art Deco’ modernist architecture across the transatlantic from the United Kingdom to New York during the 1930s, both through the transportation of people and the design and promotional advertising of 1930s transatlantic ocean liners themselves and presented at Georges Dock Plaza, by the Grade II-listed Georges Dock – Ventilation Station and Combined Control Centre for the Mersey Tunnels.