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Half century of artwork goes on display

Monday 8 May 2017

ARTWORK spanning half a century – from an LS Lowry oil painting to experimental digital pieces – is to go on display in a unique exhibition held by the University of Salford.

What’s In Store? – opening at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery on May 20 – also features works by Bridget Riley, Patrick Caulfield and Lowry’s mentor Adolphe Valette alongside recent work by rising international stars such as Rachel Maclean, Cao Fei and Mishka Henner.

The exhibition, running until November, is the first time the University of Salford’s permanent art collection has been shown together in public and is being held as part of celebrations to mark the University’s 50th anniversary.

The University began collecting art in the late 1960s, and continues to promote up and coming artists from the North West – as well as further afield – by commissioning new work, which is then kept to be displayed on campus or made available for loans to galleries around the world.

The exhibition includes some of the earliest works acquired by the University – The Narcia Fitting Out At The Tyne (1968) by Salford’s own L.S Lowry along with Romiley (1916) by the French artist Adolphe Valette, who lived in Manchester in the early 20th century where he painted the industrial landscape as well as teaching and inspiring Lowry.

Work by South African artist Albert Adams, donated by his partner Edward Glennon, will also be on display. Prevented from studying in his own country because of his mixed parentage, Adams won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art where he befriended fellow art student Harold Riley.

The exhibition will also include prints by British artists, including Bananas with Leaves (1977) by Patrick Caulfield, Wet Rainbow (1979) by Patrick Hughes and Untitled (Face and Flower) (1980)  by Kip Gresham reflecting a period when the Manchester Print Workshop was based at the University.  More recent print acquisitions on display include Frieze (2000) by Bridget Riley and Vicious (2010) by Gary Hume.

In 2013 the University adopted a new approach to collecting based on working in partnership with other museums and galleries in the North West and beyond.  This includes a unique collaboration with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester whereby artworks from some of the most important and interesting Chinese artists today are collected.

Work being displayed at the exhibition includes La Town (2014) by Cao Fei which has been displayed at Venice Biennale 2015 – as well as work by Li Binyuan, Chou Yu-Cheng and Han Feng.

Artworks by University of Salford alumni, such as Arms Open to Welcome the Sun (2012) by Sarah Hardacre, will be exhibited as part of a commitment to promoting artists from the north, along with recent work by Louise Giovanelli, and Jai Redman – who also designed the Engels’ Beard sculpture outside the University’s New Adelphi building.

Artwork which uses technology in an innovative way to reflect contemporary issues such as communication, surveillance and identity is brought together under the ‘about the digital’ collection strand.

This will include pieces by Mishka Henner, who digitally stitches together images from Google Earth to create fascinating aerial pictures of the world, Liam Young, who has made the first narrative film using laser scanning, and Rachel Maclean, whose co-commission with HOME was subsequently exhibited at Tate Britain.

The exhibition will also include Telephones (1995) by the Swiss American visual artist Christian Marclay – a video collage that takes clips from 130 Hollywood movie scenes of actors such as Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and Meg Ryan picking up the receiver.

Lindsay Taylor, University of Salford Art Curator, said: “What’s In Store? is an exhibition which offers something for anyone with an interest in art. It is a celebration of the rich artistic history which exists here in Salford, and of the thriving North West contemporary arts scene, which the University and its talented staff, students and graduates play an intrinsic role in.

“More than that, however, it also features work by some of the most exciting artists working today, including those pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved through digital technology, and some of the most innovative artists coming out of China.”