A new display
One of the Victorian galleries is due a refurbishment and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to give a taster of what you’ll be able to see in the new display Natural Forces: Romanticism and Nature from 12th July. This show will feature a mixture of early 19th century paintings by artists such as Turner (more about him in future blog posts) alongside a work by contemporary artist Susan Hiller.
On show for the first time …
Susan Hiller is a new discovery for me and I am already fascinated by her work. Hopefully you’ll understand why when you see it for yourselves! In the new display you will see her piece Rough Times from 2010. This is a recent acquisition to the Gallery’s collection (it was only purchased in 2012) and has never been on show to the public…until now that is.
A closer look at Rough Times…
It’s a photographic work made up of a set of 9 panels, with each panel featuring a seascape image. The images originate from recycled ‘Rough Sea’ postcards that Hiller has collected and they are of holiday locations around England, Scotland and Wales. The postcard images have been manipulated and altered by Hiller, such as in the colouring, to create a more contemporary feel. These colours give the work a dreamlike quality which creates a disconnect between what is imagined and what is reality.
When hung in a grid the piece will be fairly large and what I find particularly interesting is that when viewed up close, each image becomes very pixelated and the subject matter becomes unclear until viewed from a further distance. This means that the experience each viewer will have of the piece will be unique, as its impact will be, in part, determined by where he/she is stood and the distance between them and the work.
Rough Times is related Hiller’s Dedicated to the Unknown Artists, 1972- 6 (Tate collection) which is a tribute to the unsung artists and photographers who created the ‘Rough Sea’ postcard images. Hiller is, in a sense, recycling old art to create new art for a different audience. I hope that this post inspires you to come and look at her work when it goes on show; it is really beautiful.
Lori Symcox, Collections Access Assistant
I am an MA student at the University of Manchester studying Art Gallery & Museum studies. At present I am on placement at Manchester Art Gallery in the Collections Access team assisting with Victorian Art related projects. Over the next couple of months, I will be blogging about works in this exciting new display and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a new show.