Monday, 25 September 2017

Gallery visit to Middlesbrough

My trip to Middlesbrough began with Something Coquettish, a solo exhibition by Juliet Fleming at House of Blah Blah, an independent, artist-led gallery, studio complex and project space. House of Blah Blah has a strong emphasis on supporting and developing underground and emerging artists from the region. I'll do a blog post specifically about this exhibition soon.

I then made my way to Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), which is known as a 'useful' museum, a civic institution that promotes art as a tool for social change. Its programme integrates exhibitions and collection displays with learning activities, off-site projects, commissions and community-focused initiatives.

"We wish to have an influence on society, taking a leading role in addressing current issues within politics, economics and culture, and contributing to change. Our programmes encompass themes such as housing, migration, inequality, regeneration, and healthcare."

The tall walls are put to good use in the Kellenberger-White Print Room. Kellenberger-White is redesigning the institution’s brand throughout 2017. The project includes exhibitions featuring archival materials, samples of their own productions, and printed matter drawn from workshops and consultation sessions. The exhibition consisted of a workstation—a printing machine and a digital interface—that visitors could use to create posters expressing their views on Middlesbrough, art, society, and what a museum should be. The posters are being displayed in the gallery on a rotating basis.

The final destination on my visit to Middlesbrough was Platform A located in the railway station of central Middlesbrough. Founded as an extension to Platform Art Studios in 2011, Platform A is a gallery dedicated to innovative developments in contemporary art through its diverse programme of exhibitions. Platform A represents emerging and established artists.

The current exhibition, My Paths Are My Ideas of Imagination is by one of the associate artists, Rachel Clewlow. See my separate blog post for more information about this exhibition.

I had previously arranged to meet Tony Charles, the Director of the gallery to see the exhibition outside of the gallery opening hours. Not only did he do this, he gave us a wonderful tour of the studios attached to the gallery and the workshop facilities that studio holders have access to. He is one of the artists represented by Platform A, and has a studio at Platform Art Studios attached to the gallery. We were fortunate enough to be shown his work which involves the investigation into the relationship between sculpture and painting. Working on aluminium, he paints onto the surface and then uses a grinder to remove some of the surface. He then applies a layer of resin to give an incredible sense of depth and retain the vibrancy of the colours. As the viewer walks around the work, the light reflects different areas of the scratched surface, creating a moving drawing.

For more information about Tony's work visit

Thanks Tony for a wonderful insight into the gallery and studios. It was a great way to end my Middlesbrough gallery tour.

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