Keith Ashcroft (b. 1977, St Helens, UK) is a painter based in Salford, UK. He graduated with a BA Fine Art from Manchester School of Art in 2000. Keith is a Lecturer in Painting with The Open College of the Arts and co-runs Oceans Apart, a gallery in Salford dedicated to contemporary painting. Keith has exhibited his work widely across the UK. Recent exhibitions include ‘Cut From Cloth’, solo exhibition, Huddersfield Art Gallery (2022), Beep Painting Prize 2020, Elysium Gallery, Swansea (2020), Contemporary British Painting Prize 2018, Huddersfield Art Gallery & Menier Gallery, London (2018), The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2018, Mall Galleries, London, The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition 2018, Mall Galleries, London.
Special Commendation – Beep Painting Prize 2020
Specail Commendation – Contemporary British Painting Prize 2018
Gary James Williams
Gary James Williams is an artist, curator & consultant at Phenomena Fine Art. His artistic practice is realised through national and international research and collaborative projects, exhibitions and interventions, including ‘In the requisition of the ephemeral: emerging & evolving’ (2021) and ‘In the requisition of the ephemeral: interventions’ (2019) published by Phenomena Fine Art Publishing, in collaboration with Jo Manby: ‘Constructing a narrative’ – Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections (2018) and ‘Pursuing the narrative’ – Bankley Gallery, Manchester (2011), ‘Legacy’ – alumni group show, Manchester School of Art, MMU 2017 and the Arts Council England funded solo NL/UK Touring Exhibition: ‘In Transcience – incidents & interventions…,’ 2007-2009: Gallery Oldham, Oldham, UK (2009), Yorkshire Art space, Sheffield, UK (2008), Galerie Forma Aktua, Groningen, NL (2007).
When intentionally making comparison in my approach to drawing, and in switching between the physical and digital worlds, the idea of the temporary and the permanent in the process of drawing becomes more assertive. Emphasising the marks that intentionally remain in the process of developing a work or those that have been erased and have now become underlying impressions on a physical surface or, have become untraceable or non-existent in the digital spatial world, becomes a point of exploration and discovery. Where there was once a physical surface and now light and space, the context of the ephemeral in the process of drawing becomes more tangible and its value extended.
In developing the series of works, ‘adumbration of a temporary space’, the idea of the temporary and the permanent that is found in the process of drawing leaves a degree of uncertainty as to what the resulting work will be. The only certainty is that it remains as an example of the process of drawing as a work in itself.
Sophie Benson is an artist who works with drawing and painting. Her practice investigates representations of real and imagined space and the potential of drawing in series. Her interest lies in echoes of events manifest in landscape, which arises out of an interest in landscape itself and its hold on the imagination. One -person shows include; The Space Between, Long & Ryle, London, Vanishing Points, King’s Place Gallery, London, From a Distance, University Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Present Perfect, Gallerie Heppacher, Esslingen, Germany.
She has won several awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, the Prix Collioure, Year of the Artist Award and special project grants from the British Council and the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation. Signs of Life is part of a series of drawings which began as traces of light and shadow, suspended in an imaginary space, the space of the night or deep underwater. The drawing remains provisional, with the appearance of being suspended at a point of change. Marks map and travel across the surface, leaving a smudge, line, and imprint of what has gone before.
My work incorporates a multi-disciplinary approach that includes collage, photography, video, drawing and sculpture, using methods that involve the collection of images from various sources: including personal and public archives and also found-images from internet searches. Selected images are printed and made into assemblages that are photographed and re-worked. Over the last five years, I have been interested in how images operate, thinking about my own consumption of images that depicted violence as a starting point to create a body of work.
I have many influences within my work. I’m inspired by the Baroque: as a way of constructing my images pictorially; as a way to perceive the world; and also as a way of dealing with a multitude of imagery. Through constructing assemblages, I have also developed a passion for the history of still-life and collage. More recently, my work has focused on researching LGBTQIA+ histories, theories and themes. In 2021, my research expanded into looking at queer archives as inspiration for my work. I’m currently interested in researching around historical representations of queer domesticity. Through the archive, I’m also thinking about my history and identity construction. During 2021 I was awarded a develop your creative practice grant from Arts Council England.
Recent exhibitions include Undisclosed Resources curated by Efrem ZelonyMindell, Leeds Summer Show 2021 and Here </> There Exhibition, SIA and Today Art Museum, Beijing. My work was recently included in a Queer Zine Dictionary publication produced by The Feminist Library, London. In 2016, I was Associate Artists at Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida with Josiah McElheny.
Carolyn Curtis Magri
Carolyn Curtis Magri’s recent work includes Slip Drawings, ‘Top Floor’, Gallery Frank, Ebor Studios, Littleborough (2021), Cones of Vision, Hebden Bridge Open Studios (2021), Studio 30, ‘One’, Linden Mill Gallery, Hebden Bridge (2020), ‘Pandemic’, The Co 19 Project On-line Exibition (2020), Sylvia Plath Pen Tributes Digital Drawings, Heptonstall Museum (2019), ‘If Pigs Could Fly’, Victoria Gallery, Preston and One Person Drawing Exhibitions, Linden Mill Gallery, Hebden Bridge (2018, 2017) and Silenced Voices, The Portico Library, Manchester.
Only Human Oracle
Having developed an interest in Tarot in 2018 after a year of particularly intense “eco-anxiety”, learning to read Tarot offered me comfort, deepened my connection with my intuition and gave me a sense of control. On a global scale 2020/21 has been and still continues to be, a particularly challenging and emotional time for us all – from an environmental, world health, political and basic human rights perspective. Tarot can be a tool to help us highlight, analyse and work through the issues that we are facing on both a personal level and collectively.
From 2019 through to 2020, over a 14 month period I created a series of 78 Tarot inspired pencil drawings, which after receiving project funding on Kickstarter in July 2020 went into print production and is now a usable contemporary Tarot deck.
The Monochromatica Tarot consisted of 78 cards featuring hand-drawn card designs inspired by the 1910 Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Each individual card started out as a detailed hyper-realistic A5 pencil drawing on paper, which was then photographed and scaled down to form a card design. Each design depicts my personal interpretation of the imagery and symbolism of the original Rider-Waite cards. Through research and care, my aim was to create artworks that respect and embody the Rider-Waite Tarot symbolism without creating a reproduction or imitation of the original imagery and to attempt to create a deck that was more diverse and inclusive, that could better represent the world we share together.
After creating my own Tarot deck, I was inspired to begin to create my own Oracle deck. Oracle decks are very similar to Tarot decks, as they are also a tool for self-reflection and an aid to spiritual practices. However, Oracle decks aren’t as traditionally structured as Tarot decks. There is no predetermined numbered system, card meanings, themes, or imagery and there is no set requirement for the number of cards in a deck. Oracle cards are generally considered to be less ambiguous, with more concise meanings. As part of my Only Human Oracle deck project I am currently working on a series of 38 anatomical pen drawings, which will be photographed, scaled down and digitally layered on top of water colour paintings and washes to create card designs. I chose to study images of human anatomy for this project because I am very interested in further exploring and determining the links between metaphysics, spirituality, divination, human physiology and mental health/wellbeing.
Pavel Büchler, artist, teacher and occasional writer, was born in the former Czechoslovakia and lives in Manchester. The drawing of The Exhibition(2012-2022) is a cumulative copy of the entries from a visitors’ book for an unknown exhibition of an unknown artist in a Czech regional gallery.
Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson
Since 1994 Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson have been drawn to the articulation of power and authority, to the grammar and rhetoric that surrounds them. Their works often combine densely layered visual and acoustic allusions to faith, politics, national identity and the environment. They are interested in spectacle and its cultural effects and have made work derived from military and biblical sources, from memorials and the uses of public space and from the legacies of the nuclear and coal industries.
They live and work in Manchester and Berlin. Solo exhibitions include Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, 2018; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2017; MEWO, Kunsthalle Memmingen, 2016; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, 2015; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 2013; Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon, 2012; SALT, Istanbul, 2012. Group exhibitions include 5th Moscow International Experimental Film Festival, 2020; Newlyn Art Gallery, 2019; Malmö Konstmuseum, 2018; Z33, Hasselt, 2017; Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2016; Kunstverein Konstanz, 2015.
Stefan is a practicing artist exhibiting both nationally and internationally. He studied B.A. (Hons) Sculpture, Winchester School of Art (2000-2003) and M.A. Drawing at Wimbledon School of Art, London (2005-2006). His practice and research enquiry explores the intersection of contemporary drawing with digital technology since 2005. Practice and research has led to being artist in residence with the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford since 2013, currently based at Blenheim Palace in collaboration with spatial archaeologist, Dr John Pouncett. He was formerly artist in residence at an archaeological excavation site in Bodfari, north Wales in collaboration with YBA, Simon Callery and archaeologist, Professor Gary Lock, University of Oxford (2013-2018). Both practice and research has been published with JVAP (Journal of Visual Arts Practice, Routledge) and Open Archaeology Journals and received support from the Arts Council of Wales. Stefan is currently Senior Lecturer in Drawing and Digital Practice, University of Northampton.
Selected exhibitions include: Ineligible (2020) (art/archaeology), International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, Santo Tirso, Portugal; Lumen Prize, Global Award for Art and Technology (2019, prize winner) selected by Tate Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Media Lab China, Future Everything and Goldsmiths, University of London presented at Barbican Centre, London and exhibited at Cello Factory, London; Drawn to Investigate (2020) The Ruskin Museum, Lancaster University, UK; Rhych: Simon Callery, Stefan Gant & The School of Archaeology, University of Oxford (2018) Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw, Wales; Painting, Drawing and the Digital International Symposium & Exhibition (2017), Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton in collaboration with Drawing Center, New York, USA (Co-Chair, Organiser, Curator and Exhibitor); The Sketchbook Today (2015), Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton in collaboration with Tate Britain and Rabley Drawing Centre (Exhibition Organiser, Curator and Exhibitor); Jerwood Drawing Prize (2007, 2010, 2012); National Eisteddfod of Wales, Y Lle Celf (2007 Highly Commended, 2009, 2013) and Secret, Royal College of Art, London (2006 to date).
Mary Griffiths’ practice begins with close observation through drawing. Figurative drawings are developed in the studio and are the root of her abstract works, through which their essential geometries are rendered. Her themes are the North, working-class experience, architecture, industry, and science. These are lenses through which she examines memory, illuminating the past and making insightful connections between the material world and the cosmological.
Exhibitions include; Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2021); Summer/Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy, London (2020); Protest and Remembrance, Cristea Roberts Gallery, London (2018); Wild Honey, The Turnpike, Leigh (2018, solo); Prospect Planes, with physicist Kostya Novoselov, for the Great Exhibition of the North, Newcastle/Gateshead (2018); Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester and touring internationally (2016-18); From Seathwaite, permanent wall drawing at the National Graphene Institute, Manchester (2015, solo); Still Further, Bureau, Manchester (2014, solo); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy (2014); Cabedal, Plataforma Revolver, Lisbon (2012); Fathom, Bureau, Manchester (2012, solo); Memory of a Hope, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool (2011).
Mary Griffiths studied English at Newcastle University and Fine Art at Manchester School of Art. She worked as a curator in museums and galleries until 2020, most recently at the Whitworth, The University of Manchester.
A book of her drawings, Pictures of War, was published by Carcanet in 2009. Mary Griffiths’ work is in the Arts Council Collection; The Turnpike; The Whitworth; private collections.
David Gledhill has been a professional artist since graduating in 1981. He has exhibited throughout the UK and internationally in Frankfurt, Berlin, Milan, and Brussels. His recent work appropriates photographic archives to produce paintings that address historical and political themes through the lived experience of their subjects. In addition to his activity as an artist, David has contributed writing and reviews to numerous artists’ projects and publications. He is co-director of Rogue Artists’ Studios CIC in Manchester, the largest artist’s studio provider in the North of England. David is a Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Bolton and was awarded a PhD by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2020. David is represented by Philips Art Gallery, Manchester, and works are held in the collections of East Sussex County Council, Rank Xerox, Halliwell’s, Touchstones Rochdale and Steven Berkoff.
I make stuff and play with material ideas and visual form at Ebor Studios. Located on the Pennine edge in the township of Littleborough, Rochdale, this place is the source for much of the content of what I do in the studio; the colour palettes, shapes, linear structures, compositions, and systems of production.
My studio space is divided into three workstations:
1. a mini laboratory for experiments with pigment preparation and paint and ink making,
2. a worktable for small objects and constructions (what I consider to be 3-dimensional poems),
3. the rest, a loosely organized mess where I paint and draw and think.
I studied, a long time ago, at Rochdale Art College, then at Trent Polytechnic, and finally at Reading University. I trained to be an Art teacher at Goldsmith’s College. In my professional life, I’m the Dean of Academic Programmes for Art and Performance at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. I have the privilege of working within and alongside this world-class community of academics and practitioners to contribute to the development of a next generation of creative thinkers, artists and cultural activists. I sit on the Project Group and co-convene the Tools Group for the Shared Campus, an international network for Arts, Design, and Performance Higher Education that is creating intercultural and transnational platforms in support of co-operative learning and borderless education. I co-Chair the National Association for Fine Art Education (NAFAE), the subject specialist Higher Education network for Fine Art in the UK.
The use of stories has always been important in my work. Sometimes I illustrate the story directly in my paintings. For other work, the story will give me a starting point, which then develops into a series of drawings and ideas. From this, other ideas develop and the story starts to become insignificant, creating a new story by the time the painting is complete. The work is very theatrical, and often the canvas is the stage.
The characters in my work are liked and disliked in equal measures. Some people want to cuddle and hug them, while others find them sinister and do not feel comfortable with them. Depending on your view of the character, what is happening in the pictures appears differently. This often makes the subject matter ambiguous. I love the idea that one painting can create completely opposite feelings depending on your opinion of the character. Good/ Bad, Warm/Cold, loving/sinister, Protective/Threatening.
The ‘Untold Tales’ book series developed from experimenting with mixed media and looking at events, occasions, places visited, stories from books or just playing with imagery and materials. Some are planned and some are spontaneous. I am also a writer and illustrator of children’s books – my third book ‘The Girl who Really Really Really loves Nature’ is out now, published by the Natural History Museum. I am a founder member of Rogue Artists Studios in Manchester City Centre, where I continue to work, and which now houses over 90 artists. I have exhibited widely across the UK and in the USA and have work in Private collections across UK, USA, Germany, Australia, Cyprus.
Naomi Lethbridge is a graduate of the University of Dundee and Manchester Metropolitan University. She exhibits widely throughout Europe, as well as teaching sculpture and drawing. Her work is concerned with obsessive documentation, often finding interest in the mundane and repetitive, with a quiet and intense focus.
Pam Ibbotson studied Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, gaining a first class honours degree in 1987. She was elected a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in 1988. Since then, the artist has exhibited widely, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Prizes she has received have included the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts Major Award and the Runner-Up Award. In 2013, she undertook an MA Visual Arts (Painting) course at West Dean College in West Sussex, passing with distinction.
Pam Ibbotson’s paintings have been described as containing a ‘highly skilled inventiveness’ and the effect of her work has been compared to ‘Van Gogh’s almost visionary sense of the underlying rhythms of nature’. Robert Clark. The Guardian.
David Lunt is a Manchester born artist who studied BA Fine Art at Loughborough University 1997-2000 and MA Art and Design Studio Practice 2004-05. He has exhibited work in a number of recognized institutions, notably FACT (Liverpool) Cornerhouse (now HOME Manchester), The Portico Library (Manchester) and The Harris Museum (Preston). In 2017, he was shortlisted for the ‘Greater Manchester Art Prize’. More recently he hasexhibitedwith London based astronomy collective ‘Lumen’ and ‘Artgene’ in Cumbria and was included in Warrington Open (2020) the ‘Greater Manchester Open’ exhibition at HOME in 2022 and ‘Fronteer’ gallery Sheffield in the exhibition ‘Celestial Bodies’.
Lisa Denyer’s practice explores the polarities of a slow, considered painting process against the speed and sensory perceptions of daily life. The work relates to the body, the spaces we inhabit, and the visuals we are presented with on a day-to-day basis. Surfaces are developed using collage in an approach that is both spontaneous and contemplative.
Geometric elements are tested in variations using paper cut-outs before a composition is set, often framing gestural marks. The supports are dense and weighty and usually handmade. She uses heavy plywood, clay, panel, sandpaper, or wood as surfaces on which to work. These are selected for their textual qualities and for the way they assist, and disrupt, the application of paint.
Lee Machellsituates his practice within a vocabulary of commonplace objects that he invests with the status of sculpture. The main concerns of Machell’s practice are its object centric sculptural statements, and the orchestration of his works often calls for a topographical understanding of the space they occupy.
Machell’s work is process based and material led, and often pays reference to the various accoutrements of the studio. Kodak (2020) is a continuation of Machell’s drawings on paper using matches. A Kodak slide carousel is encircled with matches; once lit, a sequence of sparks charts its shape and the smoke captures its impression on paper. In Kodak, Machellplays with the paper’s physicality, its state as a combustible material. Paper’s molecular structure as primarily carbon allows it to char easily when set alight and the chemicals in the match create tonal nuances, with the smoke enabling unpredictable patterns to evolve.
In previous works on paper, each work’s inception is an object that Machelluses to create drawings that synthesize the various elements of his practice. In Cap (2013) Machelldelineatesan oil paint tube’s screw cap;as the heat permeates the plastic, it captures the object’s minute detail on paper. Past sculptural works continue the reductive approach inherent in Machell’works on paper, such as handle (2012) in which two paint tubs’ handles interlock to create a loop. As previously distinct objects -one part is “male” and the other “female” -a simple action serves to unite them as a sculptural entity that rests weightlessly on the floor’s surface.
My visual art practice has its beginnings in making things as a child, I then moved into photography, particularly of the landscape. I went on to study embroidery. My visual arts practice has widened over the years beyond making exhibition work, to encompass freelance teaching, writing books and articles, research, mentoring and coaching. Photography and the landscape remain important to me. These creative activities have worked alongside and are integrated with my management, development, and leadership roles in the arts and cultural sectors, higher education and public sector.
I am based on the edge of Sheffield, close to the Peak District National Park.
My exhibition work is usually textile based, often drawing on historic techniques, such as traditional nineteenth century handstitched English quilts and eighteenth century calico printing. For over nine years, I focussed solely on using running stitch to make large scale works. My works are often densely handstitched, sometimes in combination with a wide range of other processes including dyeing, machine stitching, painting, and drawing.
Drawing has always been part of my visual arts practice, most often as a way to explore an idea, or solve a problem when realizing my ideas for exhibition work. I rarely share my drawings They remain a private resource to be consulted and developed, an archive of ideas, some realized, some not.
Jill Randall makes sculpture and prints, and has exhibited her work extensively nationally and internationally. Randall’s work often reveals the sublime and beautiful, the poetic and resonant in bleak and unpromising places, and often involves making work with and from post-industrial, toxic, or ‘spoiled’ environments.
Recent work has focussed on artists residencies in industrial settings as the context for new work, and Randall has established innovative ways of interpreting industrial heritage, especially metal-mining, through contemporary arts practice, demonstrating how the visual arts can be a mechanism for cultural regeneration and re-engagement.
She is interested in harnessing post-industrial legacy to create artworks, and has created several interventions in industrial environments, going as an artist into non-art situations, and responding to the place and the people, a process the artist describes as “slow burn”, often resulting in collaborative new works with the workforce and industrial processes.
In 2008, Randall won an ‘Artists At Work’ Award from Artworks Wales to undertake an Artist’s Residency at Parys Mountain, Anglesey, an abandoned copper mine. Randall investigated how this remarkable post-industrial site can be utilized to produce artworks from its specific topography and chemistry, and developed a substantial body of new work, culminating in the solo exhibition, “Golden Venture”’, at The National Waterfront Museum, (The National Industrial Museum of Wales), in 2011. This work has continued in historic metal-mining sites in Cornwall, Australia and Mexico, and forms part of an ongoing series with metal as the narrative thread throughout.
The drawing presented in the exhibition, ‘Found Drawing, Parys Mountain Underground. Bridge,16 fathoms. First attempt ‘, has been selected from a body of 10 large ‘found drawings’. These huge, brightly coloured drawings have been created by the passage of time in pitch blackness in the abandoned underground mine workings at Parys Mountain Copper Mine, Anglesey, by the repeated action of mineral drippings through the mine. Strategically placed, left for 6 weeks, and then retrieved (with difficulty), they have been carried up and down rickety ladders in pitch blackness, retracing the steps and actions of the early miners. The drawing both describes, and is created by, its unique environment.
Babs Smith is an Artist based at Ebor Studios, Littleborough. She was the winner of a Graduate Scholarship on the University of Salford Art Collection Graduate Scholarship Scheme in conjunction with Castlefield Gallery, Manchester. She was Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival. She was selected for the Neo Print Prize and the Salford Open in 2018 and has been recently nominated for a Create Art & Design Award UOS. Babs has shown work alongside the Acquired Exhibition at Salford Museum & Art Gallery and in the Superlative Artistry of Japan, where her work is currently housed at Salford Museum. Her work is in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery Collection and the Salford Universities Collection. Babs has undertaken a number of public commissions and has her work housed at the National Outdoor Centre, North Wales and the Autism and Criminal Justice System, Salford. She is currently developing projects with DCC Data in Manchester and Manchester based musician Holly Phelps.
Dorothy Ann Simister
Working primarily with sculpture and installation, Claire Tindale uses the miniature as a conceptual framework, to explore physical and psychological spaces, responding to environments and those who occupy them. A hospital, an empty office building, and a library, are just some of the spaces that she has been commissioned to respond to.
Initially the use of the miniature emerged in response to the conditions of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, with the creation of a 1/12th scale model of a care home. Conveying contraction in relation to mental capacity and physical space
Subsequent projects have combined miniatures, with full-scale elements, to explore themes of responsibility, vulnerability, disorientation and power balance. Filtering Through juxtaposes hand-crafted miniatures with full-scale components to convey the impact of medical treatment on the daily life of someone suffering from poor kidney function.
Exhibitions include: Felt , Salts Mill, Saltaire, Homeness , AIR Gallery, Altrincham, Time after [( )] after Time, The Briggait, Glasgow; Miniature Worlds , Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; BiblioTech , The Portico Library, Manchester and Start from Where You Are: Second Degree Potentias , Bloc Project, Sheffield.
Tindale is a member of Paradise Works, Salford, Manchester. In 2017 she was selected for MDP Studio Book Program and in 2019 she was shortlisted for the GM Arts Prize. She has work in public and private collections including the Tate Special Collection of Artist Books.