Artists: Michael Beard, Frances Disley, Harry Meadley, and Leslie Thompson
Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts present Thumbs Up. The gallery will be reimagined by the artists as a place of research and learning, conversation and exchange. The exhibition considers how different modes of display in a contemporary art gallery condition the way audiences interact with the work. Responding to the physical spaces of the gallery the artists have developed the scale, materials, and methods of their work. The artists’ responses have been shaped by an ongoing dialogue with the creative teams at Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts to interrogate the gallery as their host. Working closely with the University of Salford has also expanded the project to incorporate expert advice on topics including; botany, energy efficiency, psychology, and horticulture.
The audience will activate the space and encounter works in new and unexpected ways. The artists have been working alongside each other to draw out corresponding themes in their work such as connections in popular culture, travel, movement, and use of colour. These meeting points will shape way the work interacts in the gallery, creating a welcoming and enveloping intervention in the depths of winter.
Thumbs Up marks the latest development in a partnership between Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts. One strand of the collaboration, alongside the Whitworth, was recognised by the 2019 Manchester Culture Awards winning the award for Inspiring Innovation. Both organisations are deeply invested in offering sustainable residency and professional development opportunities for early-career and learning-disabled artists in the North, and committed to improving inclusion and accessibility in the arts. Following the exhibition a selection of work developed by each of the artists will enter into the permanent collection of the University of Salford Art Collection.
Castlefield Gallery is wheelchair accessible