My Pick of Manchester’s Contemporary Art to See in March

Manchester’s Contemporary Art to See – March

Manchester’s Contemporary Art scene is absolutely buzzing with good things to see in March so I decided to give an overview of exhibitions, on, or coming this month which I think you will find really interesting. I’ve also included information on the  GM Arts Prize.  for contemporary artists in the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities.

I’m sure there are some I’ve not mentioned and if you have a Contemporary Art exhibition on in Manchester in April, let me have the details and I will try and feature it in my next monthly update. So below are just a few I would put at the top of my list to see. Enjoy!

Saul Hay Gallery – New Topographies 17th March – 13th May

Manchester's Contemporary Art scene
Saul Hay Gallery – New Topographies Exhibition. Image by the Artist Jen Orpin

Saul Hay gallery are staging their third Manchester Contemporary Art exhibition starting 17th March and I’ll be writing a review blog after the opening. To quote Saul Hay – “The artists in ‘New Topographies’ explore how we connect emotionally with landscape asking us to question the very nature of beauty and to review our environment with a fresh perspective”

An interesting aim of the exhibition is to “engage the current controversies over how the city of Manchester is developing” Urban landscape artist Julian Bovis is creating a site specific piece especially for the exhibition. The work, a panorama of Castlefield Basin, will capture the changing mood of the area as the city centre high-rise towers slowly envelop their surroundings. Given the amount of planning applications, including The Factory art venue, this may be something which marks a little piece of Manchester’s history!
Exhibiting along with urban artist Julian Bovis, are Mandy Payne who’s representations of the Park Hill Estate in her home city of Sheffield feature Brutalist architecture. (Mandy also has  exhibits at Saul Hay ‘s ongoing exhibition at The Portico Library on Moseley Street until 18th March) Corresponding with Mandy’s theme, Olga Woszczyna, who’s photographic work examines material, texture and mood of natural and built environment, is focusing in this exhibition on concrete architecture.
Josie Jenkins work uses landscape or outdoor space as a subject matter. Jen Orpin’s bold paintings of the Scottish Highlands capture the feelings and emotions evoked by this most magnificent natural landscape and Andrew McIntosh / Mackie. paints desolate landscapes, decrepit houses, and incongruous moments of glory “come together to suggest the presence of a narrative that exists as much in the viewer’s mind as in the painting…… as the space for an imaginary dialogue between strangers.”

Manchester’s Contemporary Art Prize


The GM Arts Prize was launched by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce  in 2016 to provide a platform for emerging contemporary artists to showcase their work to the business community.  “We feel passionately at the Chamber that we should not work in isolation, but work alongside artists from a variety of genres that can not only enrich our businesses, but also provide opportunities for artists to be recognised on a national and international scale, retaining artistic talent in our area”.

The 2016 prize received a fantastic 220 entries the winner being Manchester-based photographer, digital artist and film maker, Andrew Brooks.

This year’s prize is open to practising semi-professional and professional artists working or living in one of the 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester. The overall winner and three runners-up will be presented with an award at the Chamber’s Annual Business Dinner on 18 May 2017 at Victoria Warehouse.

NOTE: Entries need to be in by 19th April 2017

Shortlisted entries and the winners will receive exhibition space to display their artwork in the Chamber Summer 2017 Exhibition.

Sitting on the judging panel this year are:

Paulette Terry Brien, Co-director of The International 3 and Co-curatorial co-ordinator of The Manchester Contemporary

Helen Wewiora, Director of Castlefield Gallery

Rachel Goodyear, Artist, represented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London. Resident and practising in Greater Manchester

Andrew Brooks, Manchester-based artist, photographer and the winner of the 2016 Greater Manchester Arts Prize

Louise Durose, General & Legal Counsel at MAN Diesel & Turbo UK Ltd

The Whitworth

Sooni Taraporevala: Home in the City, Bombay 1976-Mumbai 2016

The first UK solo exhibition of photographer Sooni Taraporevala.

Manchester's Contemporary Art
Sooni Taraporevala Waiter at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai 2016 Pigment print Courtesy of the artist and Sunaparanta Copyright the artist
Manchester's Contemporary Art
Sooni Taraporevala The Gateway of India from the Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay 1976 Pigment print Courtesy of the artist and Sunaparanta Copyright the artist

I really enjoy photography and this exhibition has some great black and white photographs from the renowned photographer, screenwriter, filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala depicting life in Bombay/Mumbai from 1976 to the present day. Capturing the city in which she grew up. The images, complex and intimate, quirky and quotidian, celebrate the odd and the everyday and are a significant contribution to the social history of one of India’s most diverse cities. The display is guest-curated by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, for Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, with patronage from Dattaraj & Dipti Salgaocar. Taraporevala’s images are accompanied by a new text by essayist and travel writer Pico Iyer.

Also at The Whitworth starting 24th March

John Akomfrah’s video installation Vertigo Sea, first seen at the 56th Venice Biennale, is a sensual, poetic and cohesive meditation on man’s relationship with the sea and exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration, and conflict. The main exhibition starts 24th March, but if you want to see the artist John Akomfrah in conversation with Maria Balshaw, Director, the Whitworth and Manchester City Galleries, then you will need to book:

In Conversation: John Akomfrah
Thursday 23 March, 5pm-6.30pm
Free, booking is essential.

Please follow this Eventbrite booking link >

Castlefield Gallery …in Dark Times on until 15th April

Manchester's Contemporary Art
In Dark Times – Image Lindsey Mendick, You’re welcome, 2016

Cracking exhibition with work on show by Bex Ilsley, Rebecca Halliwell Sutton, Charlie Godet Thomas, Lindsey Mendick Zadie Xa and James Sutton.

you can read my review here





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