Must-see spring art exhibitions that are on right now

Spring feels like it is finally here and with it comes a fresh set of exhibitions across the art galleries of the city. Here are a few to check out...

By Manchester's Finest | 14 March 2018

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John Stezaker @ The Whitworth
1st December-1st June 2018

Using vintage photographs, old film stills, postcards and book illustrations, John Stezaker makes collages that subvert their original imagery, creating unique and compelling works of art. Collages from his Mask series are shown at this exhibition, in which glamorous sitters’ faces are overlaid with scenic postcards featuring waterfalls bridges and seascapes. This surreal distortion of portraiture is used to destabilise the image and present a sense of the uncanny to the viewer.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light and Hope @ Manchester Art Gallery
23rd February 2018-Sunday 6th January 2019

Painting Light and Hope features 36 paintings from  Manchester-born female artist Annie Swynnerton’s career. Swynnerton was elected the first female Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1922. Although this recognition came late for an artist with an international reputation, the groundbreaking accolade prompted a major exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery in 1923 and ensured her legacy. Her work exudes female power strength and hope with a focus on portraiture and allegorical history painting.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


NOW: A Dialogue on female Chinese Contemporary Artists @ CCFA
16th February-29th April

NOW is a collaborative project led by Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) which consists of exhibitions, film screenings and talks taking place at art venues across the UK: presenting a diverse range of artworks and new commissions from some of the most exciting female artists working in China now. As part of the programme, CFCCA showcases seven artists working across a diverse range of media, all affected and influenced in different ways by rapid transformations in the socio-political environment in China and the new opportunities available to female artists.

Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU
0161 832 7271


Mario Popham and Tom Baskeyfield: Of Flesh and Stone @ HOME
9th March-29th April 2018

The hills of North Wales have been transformed by the large-scale extraction of slate; the landscape bears the scars of this conquest and nurtures stories of its making. A past dependence on the rock continues to shape the human narratives unfolding within these hills and valleys. Through a dialogue between drawing and photography, artists Tom Baskeyfield and Mario Popham continue their exploration into how we have shaped, and in turn, been shaped by stone.

HOME, 2, Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN
0161 200 1500


In the Land @ The Whitworth
27th January-28th October

This exhibition looks back at a period of intense, abstract experimentation in British painting and sculpture where artists, having suffered the devastation of the war, turned their attention to the natural environment. Rather than approaching the landscape as pretty scenery or as a backdrop to an idyllic representation of life, the artists presented here wished to capture the sensation of being within the landscape. This exhibition features work by Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, John Milne, Ben Nicholson, John Piper and Bryan Wynter.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


And Breathe… @ Manchester Art Gallery
Friday 16th March-March 2019

And Breathe… is an exhibition of artworks from the collection at the MAG that has been co-curated with a community mental health to explore the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing. The exhibition mixes the historic with the contemporary, moving from 19th-century seascapes to more abstract, surreal and modernist works and contemporary photographic pieces by a diverse range of artists.  The colour scheme, seating, height of artworks and interpretation have all been developed to encourage people to spend time in the space and to provide a space in which to be mindful.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
0161 235 8888