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Tag Archive for 'award'

Manchester artist Ben Kelly’s new exhibition “Painting the Blues” @ Manchester City FC Museum …

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Award-winning local artist Ben Kelly had a busy time last week.  Sadly, I couldn’t make his Preview Night due to work commitments, but judging by all the feedback and coverage, things went very well indeed.

His exhibition is called “Painting the Blues” and features new work created over the last 12 months.   The aim was to capture the highs and lows of Manchester City Football Club.  Any City fan knows more than most, the world of football is a hugely unpredictable one, where “emotions change from triumph to despair in the space of ninety minutes”.

Even for a club with Manchester City’s history, the last 12 months have been a rollercoaster, yet Ben was given free rein by City to wander wherever he wanted, with unprecedented access to witness activity behind the scenes  aswell as the regular matchday frenzy.  One has to congratulate the club for creating the opportunity for an artist to try and capture the season on canvas and as a huge City fan this was pretty much a dream assignment for Ben.

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He is certainly an artist on the rise; having won a massive £15,000 in December 2006 in a competition organised by the Lowry and Umbro called “One Love – The Football Art Prize”.  He beat 800 other artists from all over the country to scoop the prize when his painting “The Final Whistle” was chosen by a panel of judges, one of whom was Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger (in the news this week with his ‘Angel of the South’ White Horse commission).
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Next project on the horizon was an exhibition at the prestigious Cheshire gallery Firob & Peacock in Knutsford.   This work showcased some of Ben’s landscape paintings; each piece took the viewer by the hand on a beautiful foray into the woods.  Featuring forests and icy stillness, this exhibition was full of intense atmospherics, Lowry-esque figures almost lost within impossibly elongated trees.  Delicate tints and the occasional dramatic splash of vividity created wonderfully engaging work.

Grab the chance while you can, and see Ben Kelly’s latest work here in Manchester at the City of Manchester Stadium Museum, open now and ending on the 31st March 2009.  All work is for sale, though I understand quite a few were snapped up at the Preview.

Which leads me on to the subject of my next post …. “Where can I buy original Art in Manchester and why should I?”.   Yes indeedee, coming soon … check back on the blog tomorrow (probably!).

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National Photographic Portrait Prize @ the Lowry

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The prestigious National Photographic Portrait Prize (2007) is occuping the light and airy mezzanine floor at the Lowry, in Salford, until October 12th 2008. This is a must-see for fans of photography in general and portraiture in particular. We are lucky to have this exhibition touring in the North West as it is usually only viewed at the National Portrait Gallery, London. For 2007 there were 6,900 submissions by 2,700 photographers from around the world.

It provides an opportunity to see a compelling array of images which highlight the sheer depth and power of a single image. The 60 shortlisted photographs have been taken all over the world and feature wildly different subjects, styles, technique and atmosphere; professional and amateur hang side by side. Should you go with a friend don’t be surprised if you end up arguing the merits of your favourite and casting your eyes heavenwards on one or two of those included.

The images are framed and printed in a variety of ways; sizes vary from 10 x 8 to a couple which fill an entire wall. I presume each photographer was allowed a free hand to choose how their work was hung? This helps to make each shot feel individual and hopefully allows the viewer to remember this is not a series but an opportunity to celebrate the art of great portraiture.

I cannot really argue with the First Prize choice a brilliant and powerful study by Jonathan Torgovnik taken in Rwanda. I also had a great deal of time for the Second Prize winner “Lucila, a.m.” (photographers site here).

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A slow-burner which quietly snuck into my brain. I don’t remember much of a connection the first time I viewed it, but I was drawn back to it time and again … close my eyes and I can almost place myself in that same room with the warm sun streaming in through the huge glass backdrop.

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Charlie Crane (who I have blogged about earlier in the year when he was selected for the New Contempories showcase) has made it into the 60, he has such lovely prints and a real sense of style. Colin Pantall‘s “Sofa Portrait #3″ is part of a series which has had a fair amount of praise and publicity already …. subtle and captivating.

If you cannot make it to the Lowry in time you can view all the Winners and those shortlisted on the National Portrait Gallery website. Looking at images on a computer screen is nowhere near the experience gained in a gallery space, but certainly better than nothing! Entry for the 2008 Photographic Portrait Prize Award is now closed and the winner will be announced in November.

Who will be crowned England’s premier Cycle City? Cycling England Funding up for grabs …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did anyone know that 19 towns and cities in England have reached the final shortlist in a competition to find the country’s first Cycling City and ten new Cycling Towns?  I certainly didn’t, but  I was delighted to see Manchester is in the pot for the Cycling City Award.  The winner is to be announced in early June 2008.  A list of all the shortlisted towns and cities can be found here.

There have been 6 pioneer Cycle Demonstration Towns operating a pro-cycling policy for the last 3 years.  These are Aylesbury, Brighton & Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Lancaster & Morecombe.

Some of the benefits a winning area will gain are extra funding (up to £500,000), advice on best practice, access to other Cycle England funded programmes and support with promotion and monitoring.

Is it all hot air?  I guess if it pushes cycling up the news headline barometer, no bad thing.  To take an example from one of the previously successful “Cycle Demonstration Towns” namely Brighton,  here it certainly seems to have kick-started the Council to become more cycle-friendly.  They match-funded the Cycle England’s contribution, which promises a £3 million investment in cycling over the next 3 years.  Brighton is a town which has seen cycling increase by 47% since 2000 and with 45% of city-workers travelling less than 3 miles, then this presents a fantastic opportunity to inform and tempt those workers to ditch the car and travel on two wheels.

UPDATE :  Today it is Wednesday 18th June and still NO announcement and NO explanation on the cycle demo towns decision.  I guess we’ll just have to keep watching on the Cycling England website.  Of course I will post the winners as soon as the “powers-that-be” make a decision.

UPDATE TWO : Yes the decision is out this morning (Thurs 19th June 2008), Bristol is the winner,  it will become the UK’s first “Cycling City”.  It is probably not a massive surprise as historically Bristol has always projected a very strong supportive relationship with local cyclists and aimed to encourage cycling in the area.  Sadly (for me anyway) Manchester doesn’t get a look in, it is not even on the demonstration town list of winners, those are: York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport and Woking.  Read more on this story here.  Good luck to all the chosen towns and cities, hopefully this extra money will allow and encourage more people to cycle and using pedal-power becomes a more enjoyable, respected, desirable and safer experience in urban areas. There is further BBC piece here which looks at Bristol and attitudes to the city winning the award and the difference it could make.
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