Manchester contemporary art snippets – May.

Manchester contemporary art – Snippets


May has been an amazing month for Manchester contemporary art. New events and exhibitions are coming out almost daily. As always BeesBlogs will try to keep you up to date with Manchester’s fantastic contemporary art scene, plus the odd taster of what’s on elsewhere.

Air Gallery in Altrincham have a solo exhibition by Louise Garman starting tomorrow – 22nd  (Full details in my last blog)

Plus for one night only Paradise Works in Salford have their First Birthday Celebrations ‘Totally Tropical’ on 24th May. 

Sara Riccardi’s Art Across will have the next in a series of Art History events at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery this Sunday 27th. (Where you can also take the opportunity to see this years GM Arts Prize winners and the shortlisted entries – See below)

OA Studios have their monthly Life Drawing class on Sunday 27th

Altrincham Word Fest continues until Sunday 27th

You can see ‘Who Are You’ with works by Mike Fahey and Martyn Lucas at Cross Street Arts this Saturday 26th

Castlefield Gallery’s exhibition ‘Oh, it’s easy to be clever if one does not know all these questions‘ continues until July

Anne Aspinall’s exhibition ‘A Welsh Connection’ at Contemporary Six runs until 31st May

Saul Hay Gallery’s ‘Manipulate‘ continues until 3rd June. Plus congratulations to Ian Hay on becoming full-time Gallery Director.

More info on all the above can be found on my last two blogs!


Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition

Manchester Art Gallery 24th May – 22nd April 2019

Manchester contemporary art
Untitled 1994 Li Yuan-chia Courtesy of the Li Yuan-… Vipul Sangoi.jpg



What do public museums collect and why? Which works become highlights, and which lie forgotten in storage? What stories emerge to frame the visitor’s encounters with the art that they see, and cloak the art that they don’t? How do these stories change over time?

Manchester contemporary art
Kim Lim Spiral II 1983 Portland stone Photo credi…urnbull Studio.tif

Through the work of more than 40 artists, Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination, and examines how exhibitions can affect these shared narratives. This exhibition will show how artworks can nurture new stories if they are shown in ways beyond the limited frames of biography and identity.

Manchester contemporary art
© Helen Petts 2018. Stills from Space & Freedom_d.tif

A central feature of the exhibition is the LYC Museum & Art Gallery (1972-83). In 1972 the artist Li Yuan-chia bought a dilapidated barn in Cumbria from the painter Winifred Nicholson and lovingly renovated it to function as a museum that was both a centre for the local creative community, and the site of an inclusive and wide-ranging ‘Cumbrian cosmopolitanism’. It exhibited more than 330 artists ranging from local practitioners to leading British and international artists. Speech Acts considers the LYC Museum as Li’s artwork, and as an early model for the spirit with which public art galleries could be run.


Jenny Drinkwater – ROSE-TINTED

Air Gallery
Tues 22nd May – Sat 2nd June 2018

Manchester Contemporary Art
Jenny Drinkwater ‘Name of the Game’ 2018

Introducing a new series of artwork from visual artist Jenny Drinkwater using the landscape as the basis for her investigations. Since 2014 she has built a body of work that considers the fragility of our environments, looking at the bond between urban development and natural landscapes. Raising awareness of the human impact on the landscape and how an unspoilt and untouched nature no longer exists.

Manchester contemporary art
Jenny Drinkwater ‘Re-imaging’ 2018

The exhibition ROSE-TINTED focuses on man-made signs and networks that have become derelict and are being lost to nature. She articulates the power of the elements whether it be natural, manmade, organic or urban, making the invisible visible and the visible invisible. The works are a combination of photography, post-production ‘darkroom’ processes, painting and perspex to highlight the many vibrant and transformative powers of the landscape around us. Highlighting the spatial interplay between line, shape, colour and shadow. By pushing the boundaries of process she attempts to deepen the viewers understanding of man and nature, and explore the inter-connectivity of people and place.

Manchester contemporary art
Jenny Drinkwater Kaleido-Scape I, acrylic & photographic transparency, 2018

Exploiting this relationship between the synthetic and the natural her work considers notions that we are surrounded by an invisible landscape of spaces, colour, light, sound, movement and temperature. Therefore the different strands of her practise address the ongoing dialogues we have with our immediate environment, and asks questions about how we are shaping and interpreting it.

GM Arts Prize – Winners 2018

BeesBlogs was at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery earlier this month for the Awarding of this years GM Arts Prize 2018 and to see all the shortlisted entries and chat with many of the artists.

Winning entry Unit For, 2018 – Jo Clements

Manchester contemporary art
Winning entry Unit For, 2018 – Jo Clements

Runner Up: Peter Davis

Runner Up: Omid Azadi


GM Arts Prize 2018
Omid Asadi – Paradox, 2017, Acrylic and spray paint on carpet (170x120x3)

Runner Up: Richard Weston

Manchester Print Club – Thurs 24th May – 21st June

An exhibition by former students at Hotbed Press, including Sophie Tyrell, will be on at The Font Bar in Chorlton starting this Thursday for 4 weeks. Techniques featured will include; Collagraph, Screen printing, Monotype, Lino, Etching etc.

Wakes Day Celebration – Touchstones Rochdale, Saturday 26 May, 12-4pm

Manchester contemporary art
LORE and the living archive

Wakes Day will see a variety of performers in the gallery, from folk dancers to musicians and dialect poetry, while visitors can get involved in a number of arts and crafts workshops, such as paintbrush making and enameling teaspoons, all for free. Doc Rowe, the archivist and collector at the centre of the Lore and the Living Archive exhibition, and the contributing artists, Bryony Bainbridge and Anna FC Smith, will also be giving talks about their work and the show which will be open for visitors to experience. Bryony and another contributing artist, Natalie Rae Reid, will also hold a clog dancing workshop for visitors to the gallery.

If this sounds like thirsty work, a beer festival will also be on tap. Industrial towns and cities, particularly in the Midlands and North of England, took an annual week or fortnight in the summer when operations shut down to allow workers to rest, known as Wakes Weeks. Touchstones’ Wakes Day will see staff dressed in period costume encouraging visitors to take walking tours to understand more about Rochdale’s industrial past or view the temporary photographic display about Wakes Weeks. ‘Workers in factories and mills looked forward to Wakes Week every year; it became the tradition for families to visit the seaside or enjoy rest at home,’

Curator of the Lore and the Living Archive exhibition, Stephanie West, says. ‘We are so delighted to be able to work with Touchstones to put a day of celebration together that complements our exhibition but is free for visitors to enjoy.’ Schedule for the day: Dance (12-4pm, either inside the building or outside if weather permits) • Oakenhoof (clog and maypole) • Grenoside Sword Dancers (longsword) • Faye Spencer (solo performer, morris) • Ryburn Longsword • Lancashire Wallopers (clog) • Clog dancing workshop with Stephanie West, Natalie Reid, and Bryony Bainbridge. Try out clog wearing and learn some steps. (1.30-2.30pm) Music and dance, open stage (2-4pm) Sign up to do a turn on the stage. Dialect poetry (1-1.30pm) Michael Higgins: readings from Tim Bobbins’ Human Passions Arts