Sevendale House, the listed ex-warehouse in which we are based, is home to an assortment of other businesses and as locals may have noticed, is currently under scaffolding as the upper floors are refurbished. Unit 5, an empty space in between us and The Real Camera Company on Lever Street is currently host to a striking exhibition; Some Recent Examples, by a collective of local artists who share their name with the title of their exhibition.
The works on show display repetition, layering and infer growth over time, with a mixture of seemingly mechanical and natural forms. Six artists; Nina Chua, Tiago Duarte, Nicola Ellis, Mary Griffiths, Jo McGonigal and Maeve Rendle have come together as a collective due to commonalities in their practice and shared interests, as well as each of them holding an M.A from Manchester School of Art.
We spoke to Jo Mcgonigal and Tiago Duarte, who recounted how the collective had previously shown together with six other artists at a gallery called Plataforma Revólver in Lisbon, and have since honed their interests and aims. They had been looking for somewhere to use as a base in Manchester, when Nina Chua and Tiago noticed Unit 5 lying empty, and negotiated with the owner of the building to use it for a month – empty shop fronts aren’t a good look for landlords, and these spaces can make excellent exhibition venues.Jo explained how the collective have deliberately given as little information as possible about the exhibition – no explanatory wall vinyls here! – so that visitors can experience the work in a straightforward, physical way. We were struck by the mysterious surfaces and textures; with Nicola Ellis’s crystalline sculpture Cuada contrasting with the smooth darkness of Jo’s Carbon Drawings.
Many of the works in this exhibition use recognisable art materials in unusual ways, with Mary Griffiths’ deeply layered graphite drawings that look almost holographic, Nina Chua’s psychedelic line drawings on absorbent paper and Tiago’s Monotype (2013), whereby layers of varnish are mechanically applied over one another, creating a patina without a picture. It’s impossible not to wonder about the processes behind each of the works, as layers, lines and in one instance, sounds, are meticulously cultivated, leaving the viewer with traces and clues as to the process.
Some Recent Examples will be open to the public until the 21st of July between the hours of 11am and 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday.