Working with transgender muse Grace Oni Smith, artist Gemma Parker presents a new portrait inspired by the asthetic of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Rossetti’s hyper-sensual paintings of women with strong, prominent features contested the diminutive and fragile vision of femininity idealised by the Victorians. In a series of chalk studies and a subsequent final portrait, Parker and Smith follow Rossetti’s example to champion an empowered, contemporary woman.
Layla Sailor presents images from her continuing Kokoshnik series, which explores traditional crafts, religious iconography and subverted female imagery. Initially beginning as experiments with pattern design, the portraits have developed into a celebration of the beauty of iconography. They also open a dialogue about the use of strong female imagery in politics and religion, and the reaction this can provoke. Some of Layla’s work has been used in protest posters for Pussy Riot and Artists Support Ukraine, successfully communicating political messages worldwide.Read more
Autoportraits in Love-like Conditions includes performance, film, photography, audio recordings, drawings and mixed media, and features new commissions produced by Shaheen over a 12-month period spent in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. It will focus on silent tales of love and the connections between people, while exploring simulated moments of intimacy with strangers through imagery and role-play.Read more
With the move to our new First Street location in Spring 2015 to become HOME, we’re excited to present Playtime, an ambitious group show featuring new commissions by nine international artists, filmmakers and musicians who pay tribute to our triangular three-storey brick structure that we have called home since 1985. The exhibition will culminate in The Storming, a spectacular, one-off performance to close the venue by Manchester-based artist Humberto Vélez.Read more