Grundy begins year of programming focusing on its collection.
The Grundy Art Gallery is to begin a year of programming centered on its collection, with a major new commission by celebrated artist Ben Cain focusing on the permanent works of the gallery.
It begins with a new exhibition, ‘Companions’, which opened on Saturday and runs until 30 January 2016.
For this exhibition, the artist has selected sixteen paintings from the Grundy’s current collection and has worked with local artists and craftspeople to have objects from within the paintings fabricated and introduced into the gallery as new sculptures alongside the original images.
In one of the pieces, a vase sitting on a side-table in a painting is brought to life by a potter, while in another an amber glass necklace worn by the sitter in the original painting is has been created by a glassblower.
The artist has constructed a special stage for the new sculptures to be displayed, which collects all the new sculptures into a 3D still life scene.
The gallery is keen to encourage visitors to get involved and to draw sketches of the new sculptures – essentially making copies of the copies.
Cllr Vikki Singleton, Cabinet Assistant at Blackpool Council, said: “We have some spectacular pieces of art as part of the Grundy’s collection already and I’m keen that we show those pieces of the public.
“However, it is important to keep those pieces fresh and to reinvent them as new sculptures is a very interesting idea.
“This exhibition should allow everybody to enjoy our current collection and I am looking forward to seeing it come together.”
Richard Parry, Curator of the Grundy Art Gallery, added: “Companions is all about seeing the works in the collection as if they were painted yesterday, as if you were the artist painting the portrait and were thinking through how to shape a vase or a bowl as if from scratch.
“This is about imagining new lives for the objects and people within each of the paintings. It comes out of thinking about what it means to have a permanent collection, and how we might offer a parallel reality for works that are envisaged to stay the same forever.”
The exhibition is inspired by the Grundy collection itself, which is made up of an eclectic mix of items from paintings to jewelry to ornaments and furniture accumulated over the years, frequently with little known provenance.
Companions opens a year of programming at the Grundy exploring its collection and improving the collection facilities. Over the next 12 months the Gallery will be commissioning contemporary artists to create new work in response to the Grundy’s collection; upgrading the gallery’s environmental controls and making repairs to the collection store; working with young people across Blackpool to interpret items from our collection in new ways; and developing the collection through new acquisitions.
The exhibition opens on Saturday 28 November from 2pm and visitors are invited to join the artist, Richard Parry and independent curator Rose Lejeune for a talk at 2.30pm.
The exhibition runs until 30th Jan 2016, although the gallery is closed for Christmas from 24 December to 4 Jan inclusive.