Manchester’s Buzzing – Art to See in June

June Exhibitions – Art in Manchester

June has so much to see in and around Manchester that I’ve put together a bumper edition of BeesBlogs to try to get it all in! So read through and pick your favourites to see this month:

Lindsey Bull and Plastique Fantastique at Castlefield Gallery, Cornelia Parker and Raqib Shaw at The Whitworth, Shirley Baker’s Photography at Manchester Art Gallery, Hi-5 at ArtWork Atelier in Salford, ‘Colour & I Are One’ at Saul Hay Gallery, Picture Stockport at Stockport’s War Memorial Art Gallery, and Art at Home, in Old Trafford. where you can see art in an Edwardian home and tour local gardens.

The Manchester arts scene is really buzzing this June and later in the month I’ll also be giving you a idea of what to look forward to at the Manchester International Festival 2017 (MIF17) June 29th – 16th July and Manifest Arts Festival 5th – 9th July.


Lindsey Bull & Plastique Fantastique (23rd June – 6th August) Castlefield Gallery  Manchester

For Plastique Fantastique the twin is a trickster double, a mirrored traitor with revolutionary potential. In their new work for Castlefield Gallery, the collective will draw upon the character of the The Hanged Man who appears in Tarot cards, curiously serene despite being hung upside down by one leg. The image originates from caricatures created to shame traitors, thieves and the bankrupt in Renaissance Italy. To mark the opening of the exhibition (6pm Thu 22 Jun 17) a ritual, a kind of séance, will be performed around this character in an attempt to invoke the agency of a digital spirit – an algorithm, computer virus or whistle-blower, a revolutionary traitor symptomatic of our time.

Originally conceived by Simon O’Sullivan and David Burrows, the list of individuals that make up Plastique Fantastique changes dependent upon the context. This exhibition sees them working with regular collaborators Alex Marzeta and Vanessa Page to develop a new work that references twins and doubles, a theme prevalent in Bull’s work. The twins that appear in Bull’s paintings are naturally similar in appearance but more importantly they share a potent mental connection. For Bull, mark making and the manipulation of paint is a way of transferring meaning, exploiting its materiality to create a psychological presence within her work.

In different ways these artists see the potential in offering alternative fictions. Crucially both Bull and Plastique Fantastique perform this ‘fictioning’ as a lived practice. Developing a ‘myth-science’ needed now, perhaps more than ever, to offer different narratives that promise the possibility of another world or a different way of life.

Cornelia Parker: VERSO (16th June – 15th November) The Whitworth

Cornelia Parker has always been attracted to the backs and undersides of things. While the front presents a conscious and recognisable face to the world, the back is often disorganised, unconscious and ultimately perhaps more honest.

For Verso Cornelia Parker has photographed the backs of hand sewn button cards that are part of the Manchester Galleries’ collection. She has turned these small everyday cards over and has found abstract drawings in the haphazard cotton threads.

Sleeping Tilda Swinton

Parker is best known for large-scale creations like Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, where the Army blew up a garden shed and she suspended the fragments around a light source.

Her piece The Maybe, staged at London’s Serpentine Gallery, was a collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton, who lay, as if asleep, in a glass cabinet.

One of her most recent projects was Magna Carta (An Embroidery), a hand-sewn Wikipedia page to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the document.

Recently named as Election 2017 artist Parker, who was once nominated for the Turner Prize, is the fifth election artist and the first woman in the role. She will observe the election campaign, which culminates in the vote on 8 June, and produce a piece in response.

Her final election artwork will join the parliamentary art collection, which documents the history of Parliament, later this year.

Raqib Shaw – Solo Exhibition (24th June – Nov 2017) The Whitworth

A solo exhibition by contemporary artist Raqib Shaw examining real and imagined spaces between the East and West.

Shaw’s opulent paintings of fantastical worlds are combined with historic textiles, furniture and drawings from the Whitworth collection. The exhibition takes the form of an installation, drawing on influences of renaissance and baroque imagery, combined with theatrical extravagance, nature and poetry, to echo the mythic space Shaw creates in his paintings. New wallpaper designed by Shaw, commissioned specially for the exhibition, creates an extraordinary backdrop for his work.

24 June – November 2017


Shirley Baker – Women, Children and Loitering Men (On Now – Until 28th Aug) MAG Manchester

This nostalgic exhibition of photographs from the late Shirley Baker has some superb social documentary images depicting the Salford and Manchester areas during the 60’s and 70’s slum clearance projects. Appealing to social historians, photography lovers and students, and to those who lived there during the clearance programme, this exhibition is a must see. For a full blog review click here


Hi-5 (June 23rd -26th) ArtWork Atelier – Salford


Artists: Helen McGhie, Nick Sykes, Hazel Rebecca Clegg, Mark Toner, Sophie Tyrrell

the run-down nature of the high-rise was a model of the world into which the future was carrying them, a landscape beyond technology where everything was either derelict or more ambiguously recombined in unexpected but more meaningful ways” ― J.G. Ballard, High-Rise

Hi-5 is a group exhibition bringing together the work of five studio artists based on the upper floors at ArtWork Atelier, Salford. The exhibition reflects ideas in J.G. Ballard’s apocalyptic novel High Rise, where residents in a 40-storey tower block collapse from civilisation to chaos in a revolutionary mass psychosis. As Ballard’s novel portrays a reaction to modern society, each artist’s independent vision is connected into a collective fusion of the psychological effects of modernity including alienation, uncertainty and anxieties of self-identity. The work in Hi-5 will combine contemporary sculpture, painting, drawing and photography to observe the psychological tensions between inner and outer spaces, whilst conveying an idea of how defined structures can be radically deconstructed through creativity and collaboration.

Exhibition continues until 26th June
Open daily 11am – 5pm


‘Colour & I Are One’  (On Until 16th July) Saul Hay Gallery – Castlefield Manchester

Karol Kochanowski. ‘Four Kosmonauts’ and ‘Once Kosmo’ Acrylic & oil on canvas. Saul Hay Gallery. Image: Brian Wild

Colour, it’s a major factor in our lives. Designers are paid amazing amounts of money to create the right atmosphere in everything from shops, restaurants and offices to our homes. Its been proved to affect our moods, reaction to stress and our health. So, seeing the title, I was really looking forward to the preview of Saul Hay’s fourth exhibition ‘Colour & I Are One’ at their Castlefield Gallery last week. The title coming from Paul Klee who exclaimed “Colour and I are one. I am a painter” after a trip to Tunisia in 1914 . Read my full review here


Picture Stockport (23 June – 14 July 2017) Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery

A new exhibition bringing to life the known and hidden artworks of Stockport

From the historical to modern masters, traditional to contemporary, marvels of Victorian engineering, local street corners to the football terraces, and the humdrum of everyday life to the party atmosphere of the carnival – they’re all depicted and they all paint a picture of Stockport.

From January – February 2017 the people of Stockport and beyond were asked to vote for their favourite work of art depicting Stockport. The top-eight works in the public vote have now been reimagined by contemporary artists and poets with the help of the public.

New works created in response to the original pieces of art range from animation, sound art, poetry, textiles and graffiti art and these will be exhibited alongside the top-eight favourite works from the public vote, which include: Viaduct by Jackie Wagg, Celebration by John D Dronsfield, The Crowd at County by Lucy Burgess, ‘The Crown’ Inn by S. Garbutt, The Carnival by Helen Clapcot, Painting the Town by Chris Cyprus, Bramall Hall by Andy Clayton, and Dame Dorothy by Abigal Betton.


ART AT HOME (30th June – 2nd July) Kate’s House

Open House is a rare chance to see contemporary artworks in a domestic setting of a Manchester Edwardian terraced home. It is an artists’ initiative, aimed to coincide with Manchester International Festival (Jun 30th to July 2nd 2017).

Inspired by the success of their Open House event last year, Kate Davies says:

“We were keen to return to the domestic setting to showcase new works to coincide with the Old Trafford Open Gardens trail.  We are also delighted to welcome several more artists to our exhibition space”

The four North-West artists:  Kate Davies, Sarah Feinmann, Maggie Hargreaves and Fiona Moate are showing a selection of work that looks at the familiar, the remembered and the unnoticed.

Art at Home

Open House is also taking part in the Old Trafford Open Gardens trail and we have invited the following artists to exhibit work linked to landscapes and gardens.

Mike Black, Margaret Cahill, Liz Cooksey, Dorothy Ellin, Andy Fear, Gina Hopman,  Derek Johnson,  Michelle Leigh,  Pauline Neild, Jill Randall,  Kevin Shipley, Steph Shipley, Estella Scholes.

The exhibition opens with a Preview on Friday 30 June at 184 Stamford Street, Old Trafford M16 9LU 6-9-pm and continues until Sunday 2nd July . (Saturday July 1st and Sunday July 2nd 11am to 5pm)

The Old Trafford Open Gardens event takes place on Sunday July 2nd 11am to 5pm