Manchester Contemporary

Went to see the Manchester Contemporary at Spinningfields in Manchester this afternoon. It’s running alongside the Buy Art Fair, which the organisers claim to be the biggest art fair in the North of England. It’s only on for this weekend. I have some prints in the browser of the Hot Bed Press stand.

There were some interesting pieces, some of which were at sensible prices. (I don’t think small (less than A4) ink wash drawings which would have taken about 30 minutes to do which were on sale at over £500 can be classed as sensible.)

Untitled Gallery were showing work by Lee Machell and Rik Copsey. Lee’s work is described as ‘match drawings’. He places matches around found metal objects (the works on show were based on a paint handle (on the Untitled Gallery link), a tape reel and a coin) with the heads touching each other. The matches are set alight and the work is the resulting scorch and smoke pattern.

Coin by Lee Machell

This is a work by Rik Copsey. What is is?

Obviously a seascape of some kind. Well, actually, it’s a macro photograph of wet paint measuring just a few millimetres across.

Anne-Marie Ros Projects, a Dutch gallery, was showing work which included sculptural pieces by Jeroen Bodewits. Jeroen has spent time in Russia and feels that it is trying to run full pelt for “the new” while still trying to hang on to its cultural traditions, “the old”. He has represented this by using found objects, particularly porcelain figures which granny may have had, but combining them in more modern contexts.

Fright by Jeroen Bodewits

The boy and the dog would probably been a pretty little piece, but now are covered in dirt and are cowering behind a pile of tyres. The graffiti on the wall says “Fright”.

The final artist I want to mention is David Burton, whose work was being shown by Rob Tufnell. David fought in the First World War, was injured in an industrial accident then lived as a tramp earning money as a pavement artist. The photograph which I found on the internet (I was reluctant to take photographs at a selling fair) is not particularly good quality but gives an idea of his paintings.

Paintings by David Burton

What interested me was that the works were quite crude yet had £3800 price tags next to them.  I feel it puts my £45 price for pairs of my screenprints in some sort of perspective.

About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
This entry was posted in Art, Art Gallery, Artists, Drawing, exhibition, Painting, Sculpture, Works and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Manchester Contemporary

  1. wws2 says:

    Thank you for introducing me to Lee Machell’s and Rok Copsey’s work. Makes me want to go and play with fire!

    • Don’t sue me when your house burns down! It was only afterwards that I realised the significance of the object being metal. Lee told me the matches go out quickly, as I assumed he would have to blow them out. I then remembered the long ago days (about four years) when I was a physics teacher. One of the experiments we did while demonstrating heat conduction was to wrap a piece of paper round a bar which was half metal and half wood. The bar was wafted through a bunsen burner flame.

      (At this point I must put a link to John Otway’s performance of “Bunsen Burner” – – Only two weeks to go to the Premiere of “Otway the Movie”! Yeah! I’m a co-producer of the movie! In fact anyone who has funded the movie by buying a ticket for the Premiere is a co-producer and is credited at the end of the film. The credits will go on for ages!)

      Back to the experiment! Where the bar was wood the paper was scorched, but where it was metal there was no scorch mark as the metal conducted the heat away so the paper never got hot enough to scorch, End of physics lesson!

  2. Nancy Farmer says:

    I agree with the previous comment, I want to go and play with fire now! The Match drawing is one of those things where I can’t quite decide if it is really art, but it is very cool and a neat idea 🙂
    I am also with you on your confusion over prices, John: I went to an exhibition last week at the RWA (Royal West of England Academy, in Bristol), so quite a big, classy setting. Looking at some of the prices I wondered if I should lower my prices a little. Then I looked at some more pieces and felt I could equally multiply my prices tenfold to be comparative… tricky things, prices.

  3. Do you price things “sensibly” so that everyone can consider buying them, or at a “silly” price so that no one will buy them. I currently have a print in an exhibition that I don’t particularly want to sell, but I’ve put a price on it such that if anyone is prepared to buy it at the price, I’m prepared to go to the trouble and print another version for myself.

    A friend had a major exhibition in London with her prices, in my humble opinion, at the “silly” end of the scale. A very well-known artist who is represented by the same gallery (can’t mention his name) saw them and bought one copy of every print for his collection. It was loose change to him. I don’t know if it was his intention but the money has allowed her to set up in her own studio and print facilities. She was previously the archetypal “struggling” artist.

  4. Pingback: Manchester Contemporary – A Postscript | notes to the milkman

  5. clinock says:

    ‘Fright’ is my favorite – a kitsch (Victorian?) ceramic transformed into a very contemporary statement. What language is the graffiti in? In terms of pricing – this is a constant debate amongst selling artists. I believe in being consistent and price my works by the square inch…

  6. Jeroen Bodewits’ work is about the changes in Russia so I assume the graffiti is in Russian. Thank you for all your comments on my The Milkman Goes To College.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s