Archives at Play 2 at Castlefield Gallery

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
Gherdai Hassell, Sire of the Sea (2023). Photo by Jules Lister
Gherdai Hassell, Sire of the Sea (2023). Photo by Jules Lister

Archives at Play 2 at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield 26 March — 4 June 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

Castlefield Gallery presents the second, and last instalment of the Archives at Play series. These shows celebrate four decades of the gallery as it approaches its 40th birthday and looks forward to another 40 years of closely working with, and supporting, artists.

Archives at Play 2 features George Gibson & Grace Collins, Gherdai Hassell, Anna FC Smith and Alistair Woods.

The artists were given access to the gallery’s archive and some draw directly on this resource in newly created work. George Gibson & Grace Collins and Anna FC Smith all invite visitors to have a say by joining in the thinking and discussions about how the gallery’s archive may inform its future endeavours.

Anna FC Smith, A Body Politic by The Name of The Guild of St. Luke (2023). Photo by Jules Lister
Anna FC Smith, A Body Politic by The Name of The Guild of St. Luke (2023). Photo by Jules Lister

 

Artist duo Gibson & Collins created a space for visitors to fully engage with the objects and ideas from the archive, utilising reimagined archive boxes as well as zines to gather the visitors’ ideas for Castlefield’s future. By creating a zone for visitors to interact with and potentially have their say about the organisation’s plans, it provides them with a sense of agency rather than being a passive onlooker.

Anna FC Smith locates herself somewhere between artist, historian and anthropologist, with thorough research underpinning her work. Greatly interested in folklore, Smith was drawn to the early 2000s Castlefield Gallery logo which featured heraldic beasts, inspired by wild animals. Taking this as a starting point, Smith created an installation that uses folklore to tell the story of the gallery.

George Gibson & Grace Collins, ripples spin outwards (2023), i hope all is well and life is calmer for you now series. Photo by Jules Lister
George Gibson & Grace Collins, ripples spin outwards (2023), i hope all is well and life is calmer for you now series. Photo by Jules Lister

 

Bermudian artist Gherdai Hassell dives into the expansive topic of individual versus collective memory, but does so on a deceptively small scale. Her ongoing series of watercolour and collage pieces titled Onion Spawns Studies are gorgeously painted compositions with elements of found imagery. The artist describes them as “expressions of her interest in the onion as a metaphor for black, Bermudian, Caribbean, post colonial and afro-futurist identity.” The images are loaded with symbolism, individual ones based on personal experience as well as those that work on a larger societal scale.

Alistair Woods is also interested in memory which he explores in his abstract paintings. Often taking on the aesthetic of street art and urban environments, Woods’ work combines these in elements with motifs like laurel wreaths and marble busts. These unusual pairings play with high and low culture and shift our perspectives on the past and the present.

Archives at Play 2 at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield 26 March — 4 June 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at Castlefield Gallery

Where to go near Archives at Play 2 at Castlefield Gallery

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The Deansgate Tavern

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Cloud 23

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Castlefield
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Atlas Bar

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Manchester
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The Briton’s Protection

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Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

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The Life Centre North
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The Life Centre North

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