Although Manchester’s arts scene thrives all year-round, there comes a transition between spring and summer when the laziness of the darker months dissipates. It’s at this point that Manchester art events, previews and socials start to sprout like mushrooms.
Thursday 27th April was an evening working in overdrive. I didn’t have just one or two, rather there were at least four eyecatching Manchester art events. I couldn’t choose one over another, so I wondered – could I go to the lot while still getting the most from them?
With only one way to find out, I walked to Castlefield Gallery for the first gathering of the night.
Manchester Art Events #1: Andrew McDonald at Castlefield Gallery
A preview to showcase the work of artist Andrew McDonald was running from 6pm and was well-attended 30 minutes in.
Practicing and exhibiting work for over 20 years, the Manchester-based artist teaches at UCLAN and specialises in intensely detailed hand-drawn images. He then animates them to create evocative and though-provoking silent narratives.
The beauty of his current work at the Castlefield Gallery is that as you stand and observe his animated drawings flickering and slowly unfolding, you start to mentally annotate the scenes. As a consequence, this transforms the spectator into the creator. Throughout the night and for the duration of the exhibition, who knows how many hundreds or even thousands of stories visitors will have privately conjured? An amazing consideration.
Manchester Art Events #2: Shy Bairns Get Nowt Opening at Caustic Coastal
Next up was the launch of an exhibition created by the artists behind the risograph publication Shy Bairns Get Nowt. The event was hosted by the wonderful Caustic Coastal in Salford.
This independent art label set up in a rickety old shop-warehouse-type building last year, opposite Hot Bed Press where I was studying a year of traditional printmaking.
Intrigued, I went to some Caustic Coastal events last year and find they’re always challenging, intriguing and brilliantly unpretentious. Thursday was no exception – the launch of the exhibition, entitled ‘Where’s Your Coat, You’re Going to be Cold’ was surprising, fun and busy with a lively and creative crowd.
The collective had arranged work carefully on the floor and walls, which worked well. Jennifer Walton intersected the evening with a live DJ set, which was the perfect backdrop to the strangely intense sunset streaming through the windows.
Manchester Art Events #3: Daisy Southern Exhibition Launch at Foundation Coffee
A breezy purple-tinged walk from Salford cleared my head of wine. However, I filled it with prosecco again at the Northern Quarter’s Foundation Coffee House. The venue was showcasing the work of photographer Daisy Southern, which will exhibit for one week, at an intimate launch.
Daisy Southern is a photographer who uses her own form as the focal point of her work. She believes that “no one can embody my ideas better than myself”. She features intense colours in her images, along with her body and limbs next to everyday objects, such as socks and pineapples. The colour theory at work in her art is truly beautiful and arresting.
Manchester Art Events #4: Overdrawn at the Deaf Institute
The final art event of the evening was Overdrawn at the Deaf Institute. This was a first for me, therefore I couldn’t resist checking it out. The premise is to gather people to get creative and draw as they eat, drink and socialise.
During the evening, the hosts scribbled suggested subjects, questions and instructions on paper to get people creating (e.g. ‘Draw a Brexit voter’). In the meanwhile, three artists at easels took part in a drawing challenge at the front of the bar. Fred Aldous and the Deaf Institute sponsored the event and held a draw to give away prizes at the end of the evening.
So, to settle the question, yep, it’s entirely possible to attend four Manchester art events in one night. This is because the centre and its outskirts strike that perfect balance of being walkable and compact but impressively busy. I’m not sure it would be the case anywhere else, but feel free to challenge that theory.
My four-art-event-evening was a vibrant start to Manchester’s spring and summer seasons and left me raring to dive into the city’s ever-surprising arts scene over the next few months.
By Denise Tench – Travel writer, Marketing/SEO Consultant, Owner of Sleeves-Up Creative.
Andrew McDonald at International 3: http://www.international3.com/artist/andrew-mcdonald/
Shy Bairns Get Nowt: http://www.shybairns.co.uk/
Caustic Coastal: https://www.facebook.com/causticcoastal/
Daisy Southern: www.daisysouthern.com