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Stanley Spencer In Des Hughes' Exhibition At MAG

Old and new works in a strong new exhibition

Published on May 9th 2012.


Stanley Spencer In Des Hughes' Exhibition At MAG

CONTEMPORARY sculptor Des Hughes has guest curated a new display at Manchester Art Gallery, largely using works from their collection, but with significant arrivals from elsewhere.

It also reveals Spencer's chief virtue his characterisation of the people that populate his works.

Everything’s Inevitable: Works from the collection of Manchester Art Gallery selected by Des Hughes (2 May 2012 - 2013) brings together sculptures, paintings, drawings and objects from the 16th century to the 21st century. 

The exhibition includes the loan of Stanley Spencer’s masterpiece Garage from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Stanley Spencer’s Garage is an evocative depiction of the motoring world. It is a fascinating study of both the social and technological aspects of the industry in the late 1920s. It has never been shown in Manchester before. It also reveals Spencer's chief virtue his characterisation of the people that populate his works.


The loan builds on previous links between the gallery and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. The composer has collected Pre-Raphaelite art since the 1960s and loaned two works from his collection to the gallery for their recent blockbuster exhibition Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer.

In 2010, he visited the gallery to film works from their celebrated Pre-Raphaelite collection while recording the ITV documentary A Passion for the Pre-Raphaelites. 

The exhibition also features some of the gallery’s most popular sculptures, such as Doves by Barbara Hepworth (1927) and Head of a Baby by Jacob Epstein (1902-04). Popular paintings on display include Nocturnal Landscape by Paul Nash (1938) and Seated Woman by Alberto Giacometti (1949).
 
 
In contrast, some of the lesser known works such as Edward Middleditch’s Sheffield Weir I (1954) and Elizabethan court painter, George Gower’s Mary Cornwallis (1580-1585) have rarely been seen out of storage.
 

One of the Des Hughes’ most recent works is being exhibited. In a Brown Study (2011) is a collection of diverse objects which draw inspiration from other artworks, presented within a ‘framed screen’. The work will be acquired by the gallery for its collection.
 

Hughes has also filled a cabinet with a number of ancient and intriguing objects from the gallery's collection, including some Roman nails, a spoon from the 5th century and a birch porridge stirrer (known as a thible) from the 19th century. He has mingled these items with pieces from his ongoing series of small sculptures Thems. 

Everything’s Inevitable: Works from the collection of Manchester Art Gallery selected by Des Hughes opens on Wednesday 2 May and runs until 2013. 

About Des Hughes 

Hughes was born in Birmingham in 1970. He lives and works in Kington, Herefordshire. Des Hughes engages with traditional sculptural materials in new and inventive ways: mixing bronze with organic material for instance. He is also fascinated by the strangeness of British art, whether it be primitive art, strange craft objects or the reinvention of landscape and still life in British Surrealism.  His work Do You Think of Me Often is also a recent addition to the Whitworth Art Gallery collection. 

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