Looking at the awful weather, we were undecided whether to go to the exhibition in Saddleworth. However we eventually set off, pleased that the motorway traffic was moving steadily but there was continuous rain all the way. Turning off the motorway, to drive over the moors, we were faced with snow and mist and very wet conditions. Undeterred, we continued along the twisting road.
On arriving in Saddleworth, conditions improved but then we had the problem of finding somewhere to park. After trying all the car parks, we eventually had to drive a short way out of the centre to find a road in a housing estate to park on.
We arrived at the gallery but unfortunately had missed the speeches although it was still very crowded. On show was a wide range of work by ten artists, from the Manchester High School of Art; although you had to navigate the crush of people to see them. An interesting chance to see how these artists had developed individual styles after leaving the same School of Art.
I always enjoy seeing the work of artists I have admired on facebook and was impressed by Steve Capper's paintings.
The press release about the paintings:
OVER SIXTY YEARS have gone by since ten former pupils of Manchester High School of Art left school, but now reunited are set to launch an exhibition of their work at the Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill.
Ted Bates, Reg Calvert, Steve Capper, Neil Cochrane, David Edwards, Phil Hughes, John McCombs, Ron McSweeney, David Ralston and Harry Robertson are currently putting the finishing touches to what is hoped will be a highly successful show of their work.
Spokesperson and Uppermill resident, Phil Hughes said, “We all met at art school in the mid-1950s. It’s amazing after all this time we still have so much in common both in our memories of the school and our desire and enthusiasm to paint.” He added, “Putting on this exhibition is a way of showing our fondness for the school while acknowledging the role it played in shaping our various careers.”
The Manchester High School of Art, founded in the early 1950s, and later based in Strangeways, Manchester was unique among schools in the secondary education sector. Through its pioneering and charismatic headmaster, Ernest Goodman and dedicated and inspirational teachers, the school provided a progressive academic curriculum with a strong emphasis on the visual and applied arts.
Following changes to education policy and amid much controversy at the time, the school finally closed in 1984 and the buildings demolished. By then, the ten of us had gone onto various UK art colleges and eventually pursued careers in a variety of professions including advertising, publishing and teaching.
Ernest Goodman and Salford Art Club
This exhibition was of particular interest because of the founder of my art club was also linked to The Manchester School of Art.
In the autumn of 1947 Ernest Goodman was a young art teacher at Salford Grammar School and realised that the city had no Art Club.
Consequentially he had a word with the director of the Salford Art Gallery, Arthur Frape, about the possibility of forming a city - wide club for those interested in Art, Music and Drama. There was a degree of enthusiasm for this and a Salford Art Club was eventually formed.
After the viewing the exhibition and a welcome hot drink in a local cafe, we debated which way to return home. As the weather had improved we decided to return the way we had come.
The trip over the moors towards the motorway proved to be a revelation, after the poor conditions earlier. The sun was shining, low in the winter sky and the snow glowed in its light. On occasions like this you can only look on in awe and try to capture some of the scenes, as I have done here.
An interesting day that turned out better than we had anticipated and one of those occasions where we could have stayed at home, but were glad we didn't.
The exhibition is a chance for local artists to show their work in Salford. The Cornerstone is a welcome venue, even more so in this financial climate, as the existence of much needed gallery space for local artists is in decline. Anyone can exhibit their work, and it is always interesting to see who exhibits and be able to peruse a variety of styles and subject matters.
I tend to show my older or smaller pieces because of the limited space. Each year, The Art of Salford Group, exhibit a wide range of work ,showing the interest and skills of local artists and crafts people.
This year we have featured a section on a Salfordian soldier, Billy Unsworth, who lost his life in the first World War. A local man, Graham Walker, is writing a book about Billy and his time at Gallipoli. Graham, who contacted Salford Art Club, has asked its members to produce some illustrations that will be included in the published book. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next few months.
I would also like to thank Tony Easom for his hard work in putting on these exhibitions. If you are passing the Cornerstone, Langworthy Road, why not pop in and have a look at the pictures.
The cafe there is excellent!