A visit to #manchesterartgallery to see the winner of #landscapeartistoftheyear 2022. #lowry #valette
Waking up to a dry day, we decided to venture into Manchester as Sue was after a pair of boots. Braving the substitute bus to Salford Quays (as the tram line needs repairing already) and then catching the tram to St Peter's Square we arrived without any problems.
As we were in Manchester, I was interested to see the winning commision by Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year, Elisha Enfield.
It's not often we are completely amazed by a visit to the gallery but on entering the galleries we were soon thrown off guard. There seemed to have been a revolution of new ideas and layout of the artwork. It hasn't been that long since we were last there but everywhere we turned were unexpected surprises. Paintings of traditional artwork were intermixed with modern art and the rooms were all arranged differently. On show were several artworks we had never seen there before and we really enjoyed seeing these.
As well as the more traditional galleries, quiet contemplation rooms had been set up, where comfortable settees and chairs were provided so that visitors could study a couple of paintings in detail. Although, we did notice that these areas were used for a chat or to check items on mobile phones! However, the thought process behind this idea was a new concept and we found them to be welcoming places where art works could be enjoyed in a relaxing atmosphere.
Having wandered around the first floor looking for the winning paining, we arrived at the Lowry and Valette gallery. This is a favourite gallery of ours as we both love the works on display. It was here that we found the painting that we had been looking for. It had been placed by a huge moody painting by Valette. The winning painting by Elisha Enfield was smaller than expected and was painted in very subtle colours. It showed the valley where the Runcorn Canal had been created. It referenced a tunnel fire by her signature blaze situated in the top right of the painting. Any artist would be excited to have their work on show in this room surrounded by the works of two special artists, Valette and Lowry.
Moving to the top floor, again, we were surprised when entering the sculpture gallery, entitled, Out of the Crates. Here, the exhibition was showing sculptures from different ages but also giving the visitor an impression that some were still waiting to go on show as they were still in packing cases. An interesting concept that added to the experience. Different groups were also responsible for putting together one of the exhibitions as well.
The last room upstairs was the design gallery, and again, here things had been changed. New items were on show and there was even a shelter to sketch in. We also saw a super painting of these three ladies by an artist called James Fitton. It reminded us a little of the snug from Coronation Street from many years ago!
After browsing in the shop. we wandered through to the final gallery. Again we were shocked, as this was now a large, exciting activity room for children. In the past this space had been upstairs, but the gallery had designed a bright and airy room for children to create in, This was very impressive. One of Sue's favourite paintings of a sleeping lion had been one of the painting used to inspire art work from young artists.
So, having expected to just have a quick visit to see mainly one painting, we were inspired to spend much longer browsing the work. It's great to see a gallery adapting to encourage the public to visit more and we will certainly add it to our list more often.
On a final note, the shoe shop was closed so Sue never got her boots!