Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialCultureArts.

The State Of UK Art Revealed In MCR

Jonathan Payne picks some favourites from Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary

Published on September 27th 2013.


The State Of UK Art Revealed In MCR
 

MANCHESTER is a land of temporary erections and fences, it has that festival feel again, uncertain students and bumptious, slightly wary Tory MPs swelling the mix.

This is where you can bump up against pretension, but slow down and some pieces go to work on you. All of the admirable small Manchester galleries are here - Untitled (with Lee Machin's Cap #3 - created by burning matches around a bottle cap (£1000)), Bureau, International 3 etc., plus others from around the UK.

As one ambles down the Oxford Street, you pass the Midland Hotel fortifications, the gathering of marquees in Albert Square, the surprising bustle of Brazennose Street, and then, down in pop-up land, Spinnningfields has lawns and screens and the large white tent that is Buy Art Fair.

Now in its sixth year, it is a title without irony. You buy art. It is pretty much a purely commercial operation. But this collection of galleries is certainly diverting. Whilst a lot of the art on display is mostly decorative, and occasionally derivative (Marilyn screenprints? - check; anatomically implausible naked women? - check; seascapes with moody skies? - check; rainy cityscapes a la Liam Spencer? - check), you would be hard-pressed not to find something that entertains, intrigues, excites. 

Personal favourites include the Erpen stand, with Nathan Pendlebury's small Polaroids (from £80), green, evocative, gorgeous - and neatly framed.

Nathan Pendlebury

Nathan Pendlebury

The surrealist bent of the Curious Duke is certainly worth a look (fish with guns from around £75), the cakes on Comme Ca Art are luscious, and the oddly enjoyable found objects - shopping lists and random jottings - tapped out into copper and painted with gloss paint at the Salvage Gallery (from £50) made me stop for five or ten minutes.

On another stand, the paintings and prints on pages torn from books were initially fascinating, technically excellent ... but the name of the gallery, Orson Kartt, makes one wonder if the jokes might pall a little too quickly. The red papier mache sculpture The Sleeping Giant by Steve Yeates, certainly has the best 'hang' that I saw, upside down and looking into the space. It has an impressive weight and ambition (and price, over £1,200) - main picture on the article.

Over in the sister venue, The Manchester Contemporary on the Leftbank, you have the 'critically engaged' galleries. (It's an odd term, are they setting themselves apart? They're still after your money.)

This is where you can bump up against pretension, but slow down and some pieces go to work on you. All of the admirable small Manchester galleries are here - Untitled (with Lee Machell's Cap #3 - created by burning matches around a bottle cap (£1000)), Bureau, International 3 etc., plus others from around the UK.

Lee Machell's Cap #3

Lee Machell's Cap #3

I fell for a photograph called Cowboy Casino (it's of an abandoned petrol station in Lewes, lit like a national monument) at The Sunday Painter by Rob Chavasse, there is a troubling screenprint to be found at the Festival Gallery (£385), and I laughed at the cheerful prints at Limoncello (£50 -£75).

Rob Chavasse - Cowboy Casino

Rob Chavasse - Cowboy Casino

Does it represent where UK art is at?

Yes. Its democratic miscellany is surely representative.

Is it worth a visit?

Absolutely.

Does it have claims on our hearts as well as our wallets? I dunno.

But I'll be going back again to visit some of the images that have wedged in the mind.

Rachel Goodyear - Fiddler PrintRachel Goodyear - Fiddler Print

Machell's floating MarxMachell's floating Marx

Cloud GalleryCloud Gallery

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Darren

I've always loved this building. Crazy it's been empty for so long when it's next to a major…

 Read more
Anonymous

Offering £12 tickets to people from Manchester earning below £14k doesn't make the MIF less…

 Read more
Voice of the Ironing Broad

The issue is not that there is differential scale. But that last year there was full price band and…

 Read more
Anonymous

"Some scrubber on the dole"? Get a grip.

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord