BRUTAL at Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
BRUTAL - an exhibition of painting and sculpture at Saul Hay Gallery
Mandy Smith - Precinct 1(Spray paint and oil paint on marble)

BRUTAL - an exhibition of painting and sculpture at Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester, Manchester 15 — 30 May 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Few could have failed to notice the number of gleaming glass towers that have come to dominate Manchester’s skyline over the last couple of years, springing up at an alarming rate, offering luxury office and living space to those who can afford. Battles between developers, the city’s residents, and conservationists have ensued, raising serious questions about who the city is for and what makes ‘good architecture’. Located in the shadow of Beetham Tower (the UK’s tallest building outside of London until 2018), Saul Hay Gallery responds to this contemporary narrative with BRUTAL – a group show reflecting on, celebrating and inspired by the built environment.

The exhibition pays particular attention to the often-maligned Brutalist and Modernist schools of thought, which promoted architecture’s social, utilitarian function – to create simple, honest and functional buildings that accommodate their purpose, inhabitants, and location and aligned with a socialist, utopian vision of living. Greater Manchester has plenty of prominent examples of the concrete-heavy form, including the Mancunian Way flyover and Salford Shopping Precinct (which both directly feature within the exhibition), though their presence is becoming ever more diluted by neighbouring modern developments.

Featuring painting and sculpture by artists Mandy Payne, Emma Bennett, William Braithwaite, Dan Broughton, and Jen Orpin, BRUTAL at Saul Hay offers visitors a chance to step back and consider the rapidly changing fabric of our urban surroundings and what kind of city we want to inhabit.

BRUTAL - an exhibition of painting and sculpture at Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester, Manchester 15 — 30 May 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near BRUTAL at Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester

Bar or Pub
Duke’s 92

Drink in the city’s built heritage along with a pint at Manchester’s Duke’s 92 – the place where both the original city and its urban revival began

Event venue
Castlefield Viaduct

Launching in summer 2022, the National Trust and Twelve Architects and Masterplanners will be bringing a new lease of life to Castlefield Viaduct.

Bar or Pub
Atlas Bar

Situated in the railway arches of Deansgate, Atlas is an elegant, quality bar specialising in nearly 600 gins from around the world.

Bar or Pub

Cask is a well-loved pub on Liverpool Road in Manchester. It has an excellent selection of continental beers and a cosy beer garden.

Music venue
Castlefield Bowl

The Castlefield Bowl is an outdoor events pavilion in the inner city conservation area of Castlefield in Manchester. The 8000-capacity arena is often used for food festivals and music events.


Cibo is one of the newer Italian restaurant to open in Manchester. Modern Italian food in snazzy city centre surroundings.

The Deansgate Tavern

The Deansgate is located in the heart of Manchester. A traditional pub with homemade food and real ales, this is truly one of the greatest watering holes in Manchester.

Teppanyaki Chinatown

A Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in the centre of Chinatown. The focus is on high-quality food with a minimum of theatrics. It doesn’t disappoint.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.