Art in Manchester – New Exhibitions of Contemporary Art to See This Week

Art in Manchester has lots of new contemporary art exhibitions to see in Manchester this week with a solo exhibition from Steven Heaton at Saul Hay Galley in Castlefield, Altrinchams Air Gallery has their new offering Exposure, The Horsfall, with Pool Arts responding to the life and work of William Blake, Chris Paynes exhibition of portrait photographs depicting iconic drummers at HOME.  Sara Riccardi has a new series of art lectures ‘Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art at The Portico and Warrington Arts Festival celebrates the 1969 Moon Landings.  Its all in this weeks Art in Manchester.


Steven Heaton – Solo Exhibition ‘Composed from Silence’ Saul Hay Gallery

PV – 4th October 2019 6-9pm Con’t until 27th October

Art in Manchester
Composed from Silence – : Echoes Answer (2019)


‘Composed from Silence’ is a solo exhibition presenting a new body of work by Steven Heaton, created from a collaborative project with art historian Sara Riccardi. founder of Art Across. Heaton’s work challenges our pre-conceived familiarity with the environment that surrounds us, our placement within it and the permanence of memories we access to reflect on and balance our lives. Natural form, structure and colour are broken down into basic constructs, rearranged and reordered to resonate outside the normal frequency, offering an alternative viewpoint and a deeper subconscious understanding, a quiet approach to the often misplaced and overlooked beauty hidden within.

Art in Manchester
Composed from Silence – Steven Heaton and Sara Riccardi in the artist’s studio 2019

Working together, Steven and Sara have spent over a year visiting exhibitions in and around Manchester, with lengthy discussions at the artist’s studio. They have been recording their conversations on various points in history, technique and lifestyle from the Renaissance, the Dutch Golden Age of painting, Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism to the contemporary, on how all these influences inform our outlook and, more importantly, on the possibility of finding the silence beneath the surface that connects everything and everyone together.

Through her regular studio visits, Riccardi has been present throughout the process of developing this new body of work, witnessing various stages of the pieces being realised, from initial sketchbook entries, collage ideas to the final works, offering constructive insights, art historical knowledge, guidance and inspiration to the artist.

Art in Manchester
Composed from Silence – A Quiet History (2019)

The body of work Heaton has created, inspired by their conversations, exhibition visits and studio time together has been carefully selected and curated by Riccardi; along with various materials, tools, books, sketches and excerpts of recordings, it will form the exhibition ‘Composed from Silence’.

Curator talk and Q&A with art historian Sara Riccardi – 25th October 2019 6.30pm


Exposure – Air Gallery, Altrincham

PV -Thursday 3rd October 6-9pm
Exhibition Continues until 26th October.
Ian Vines – Suspended

Exposure features 26 artists exploring experimental photography in all its unique forms. Focusing primarily on emerging artists; this show sheds light on previous unseen talent on a local, national and international scale. From camera-less methods to material cross-overs; this showcase aims to bring attention to contemporary photographers who challenge the limits of photography today and open up the dialogue on what ‘photography’ may mean in a hyper-technological society.



Chris Payne – ‘Flash Bang Wallop’ HOME MCR

On now – Sunday 17th November

Art in Manchester
Flash Bang Wallop – Chris Payne – HOME Mcr

Drumming is a basic human instinct crossing all musical traditions and cultures and, importantly, social classes. Flash Bang Wallop imagines and recreates the early memories and self-perceptions of drummers in a series of portraits featuring some of the most iconic players of the past 50 years.

Chris Payne’s portraits of selected drummers from a range of musical backgrounds explores their childhood memories of first-beats; intended to inspire young people to pick up sticks and learn about the rhythms that connect us as humans. It’s the musical equivalent of “jumpers for goalposts”.

Participating drummers include Dame Evelyn Glennie, Mike Joyce (The Smiths), Stephen Morris (New Order/Joy Division), Rick Buckler (The Jam), Gaz Whelan (Happy Mondays), Andy Paresi (Morrissey), Anna Prior (Metronomy), Rick Jupp (Elbow), Mike Spearman (Everything Everything), Johnny Kalsi (Afro Celt Sound System), and Rob Cieka (The Boo Radleys), plus many more.




Sara Riccardi  – Who’s afraid of Contemporary Art? – The Portico Library

Series of four session, Saturday 5 and 19 October, 2 and 16 November, 10am-12pm,

(£13 per session; which can be booked and attended separately)

Sara Riccardi – Portico Lectures Oct 2019

In the 20th century, Western art went through the most radical revolution of its history, turning into something that can be perceived as more challenging to engage with than historic figurative art. Artists working today have a much wider array of forms of expression to choose from, and the very notion of what art is and can do has been expanding beyond its traditional confines. This series of sessions will present possible points of view through which to look at modern and contemporary art, trying to navigate some of its potentially challenging aspects and offering possible answers to those remarks contemporary art sometimes inspires, on the lines of the famed “My kid could do that”.

Anyone wishing to learn more and reflect about contemporary art, discussing it in an open and provocative setting, will find the sessions thought-provoking and informative. Open to passionate advocates and inveterate sceptics alike!

The sessions will be led by Sara – with a background in 15th-century Italian painting and a current work which involves extensive collaborations with contemporary artists, Sara has gone through a process of study and understanding of modern and contemporary art herself. Each session will focus on a key theme, and will involve Sara’s presentation, open discussion within the group and excerpts of interviews with practising contemporary artists sharing their perspective on the themes addressed. A huge thank you to artists Mark McLeish, Sophie Tyrrell and Lucy Ridges for their insightful interviews.

Sessions subjects:

Breaking the form
Beyond painting
Emotions, politics, social change


Your Truth is not My Truth – Pool Arts and The Horsfall

Pool Arts respond to the Life and work of William Blake.
The Horsfall = PV -Thursday 3rd October  5-9pm:
Con’t- 12th October 2019 (Weds/Thurs/Fri/Sat) 2-6pm

Art in Manchester
Pool Arts William Blake Horsfall

The poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827) lived his life in poverty and received little recognition during his lifetime. He was considered an eccentric and even a madman by the critics of the time, yet is now seen as one of the most important artists in art history.

Pool Arts have looked at Blake’s life, his poetry and created new artworks in response. Exploring how then, as now, the fight between different Truths shaped the world and viewing one of the Fathers of the modern world, from the perspective of a Post-Truth age.


Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival

Warrington Museum & Art Gallery – Friday 4 October (in line with Light Night).

Art in Manchester
Museum of the Moon at Lakes Alive, UK (c) Luke Jerram – Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival

This may be Art in Manchester but I couldn’t leave out our friends in Warrington. Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival returns again  this year, with the star of this year’s festival undoubtedly Museum of the Moon – a seven-metre wide, internally-lit installation from internationally-renowned artist Luke Jerram.

Set to an atmospheric soundtrack by BAFTA and Ivor Novello-award winning composer Dan Jones, this awe-inspiring display perfectly captures the mystery and majesty of the moon 50 years after the Apollo 11 landing.

Art in Manchester
Illumaphonium – Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival

Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager at Culture Warrington – said: “It’s such an honour to welcome Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon to Warrington. “We have themed the entire festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, which we felt was a really accessible theme and suitable for all ages.” This year’s festival is set to begin with a kaleidoscope of light and colour with a fully-accessible Light Night event on Friday 4 October, giving visitors their very first chance to experience the spectacular Museum of the Moon in Parr Hall.

In addition, Queen’s Gardens will be brought to life with a range of interactive sound and light installations, breathtaking live performances and a top-quality food and drink offer. Light Night highlights include Illumaphonium – a huge, hands-on, light-up musical instrument, Squidsoup – an accessible, immersive, interactive light display and 2Faced Dance Company – a mesmerising aerial dance act telling the story of a young man’s encounter with the moon.

Art in Manchester
2 Faced Dance – Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival

Over the next 10 days, Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival will present an exciting programme of events taking place underneath Museum of the Moon, from SEND storytelling, to club nights, to yoga. Other highlights include a visit from Art Battle Manchester – a dynamic and engaging event, which will see 10 artists battle it out in an impressive 30-minute challenge, while visitors circle around and choose who to vote as the winner.

Leah said: “Our aim for this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival was to create a more diverse programme of events that will attract a wider audience and appeal more to the local community. “The programme under the moon has something for everyone from film nights, to yoga, to gigs!”

In addition to a whole host of moon-themed events, this year’s festival will also stick to tradition with its annual open competition.

Offering a £1,000 prize and a solo exhibition in 2020, Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival will once again present entries from artists across the North West in a fantastic exhibition on 4th Oct