40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
An abstract painting with white and colourful marks on a red canvas
Gary Wragg, Skid (1984). Photographed by Paul Tucker, image courtesy of the artist

40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield Until 23 June 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Castlefield Gallery begins its 40 Years of the Future anniversary celebrations with 40 Years of the Future: Painting. The exhibition brings together large abstract paintings that were actually shown, or are representative of the kind of work that was shown at the gallery in its first year of programming along with more recent, contemporary pieces.

This look to the past highlights the artists who have a long history with the organisation and explores the way that painting has changed over the years, creating a dialogue between the works.

A textured painting with the naked figure of a woman lying on the floor. The figure is red and the background is abstract with red and purple strokes
Katie Tomlinson, corpse (2023). Image courtesy of the artist

Sarah Feinmann, Tricia Gillman, John Hoyland, and Gary Wragg return to the gallery to display their work alongside North West-based artists on Castlefield’s list of ‘ones to watch’: Jamie Kirk, Robin Megannity, Azraa Motala and Katie Tomlinson. 

Abstraction meets figuration in this exciting survey of painting and the different approaches to the medium and its possibilities over the last few decades. The exhibition is also an interesting debate in the role of both styles – is one ever superior to the other? The tastes and preferences of audiences shift and change so there is never a singular answer but the audience can ponder these questions as they take in the display.

A young woman wearing a traditional embroidered hijab and modern sneakers, seating on an armchair, looking down at the audience
Azraa Motala, I beg you to define me, 2018. Photographed by Reece Straw

Robin Megannity’s works on paper and canvas are reminiscent of the classical painting tradition, with portraits and still lives in atmospheric darkness yet vividly colourful. They stand in stark contrast to the large-scale abstract painting Harvest 6.3.81 (1981) by John Hoyland, yet despite the obvious differences in subject matter, both share the vibrance and luminosity achieved by a deep understanding of colour. Similarly, Katie Tomlinson’s bold hues are combined with striking mark-making allowing for figuration and abstraction to meet.

Other pieces in 40 Years of the Future: Painting incorporate elements of nature photography, digital imagery, laser cut shapes and diaristic elements. Varied in subject matter, they each bring different messages and motifs but together form a compact survey of painting over the last 40 years.

40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield Until 23 June 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at Castlefield Gallery

Where to go near 40 Years of the Future: Painting at Castlefield Gallery

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