How do we make sense of the world around us, and our place within time and space? One answer proposed by Manchester-based artist Lucy Harvey is through our personal hobbies and interests. Harvey has just undergone a two-month residency at Quarry Bank during which she delved into the National Trust’s archives and special collections to unearth the geological and astronomical interests of the Greg family, which first founded the cotton mill and its surrounding community in 1784.
Drawing on forms, materials and ideas relating to her research, the artist has created a series of three outdoor sculptures sited throughout Quarry Bank’s extensive grounds, collectively titled Mutual Improvement Society. Together the work explores parallels between the Greg family’s efforts towards self-improvement, leisure and meaningful activity through education and culture, and contemporary trends and theories of well-being.
Harvey’s wider practice concerns the documentation of the human condition in material culture and place, and the function of collection and heritage. Mutual Improvement Society forms part of Arts and Wonder – Quarry Bank’s new season of visual art, film and music, exploring work, leisure and the legacy of industrialisation through contemporary art. Join Harvey for a drop-in workshop on Saturday 7 October to probe further into the themes behind her work.