Featuring insightful abstractions, rare retrospectives, prize-winning paintings and ancient artefacts, the North West reaffirms its status as an international epicentre of diverse, captivating art and entertainment with a staggeringly expansive exhibition programme to provide a spiritually nourishing reprieve from the sodden gloom of northern winter.


Paintings in the Key of Life | The Edge | Chorlton | Thu 2 Nov - Fri 15 Dec | FREE

Following his riotously received 2021 showcase Apricity, Manchester-based painter Gary Steer unveils his second solo exhibition comprising a series of rich, stirring semi-abstract expressions at The Edge.

Drawn from a broad church of influences including Francis Bacon, Vincent Van Gogh, French New Wave cinema and 90s pop culture, Paintings in the Key of Life presents itself as a vibrant, enjoyable enigma – a cultural ‘Guess Who?’ formed of mutually resonant colours, featureless yet relatable faces and an undercurrent of universal, incorporeal romance.

The Edge, Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9JG
Albrecht Dürer’s material world | The Whitworth | Open until Sun 10 Mar | FREE

Open throughout winter until Sun 10 Mar, Albrecht Dürer’s material world explores the life and work of the German Renaissance painter like never before, as the Whitworth exhibits works from its sprawling Dürer collection for the first time in over fifty years.

Featuring woodcuts, etchings, and engravings set in contrast to an array of objects from the artist’s period, including armour and tableware, books and scientific instruments, the exhibition provides fresh perspectives on Dürer as an ingenious observer of unparalleled insight, who examined a world of growing trade, ambitious design and manufacture and saw the boundless creative opportunities within to lead Europe’s print revolution.

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER, Tel: 0161 275 7450
Omid Asadi: Resonance and Remnants | Castlefield Gallery | Sun 15 Oct - Sun 21 Jan | FREE

Running until Sun 21 Jan at Castlefield Gallery, Omid Asadi’s Resonance and Remnants interrogates the symbiosis of collective loss, memory and belonging through large-scale sculptural work, built in situ using reclaimed bricks, found objects and dandelion seeds.

Open since September, Asadi’s first major UK solo exhibition juxtaposes the stark implications of broken materials with the fragile, organic optimism of the seeds, setting the innocence of childhood dreams against the brutal reality of war and so-called development. Defined by contrast, Resonance and Remnants combines the solid and the ephemeral to represent the precarious nature of human recollection, and its unbowed sense of hope and home even when physical spaces have been destroyed.

2 Hewitt St, Greater, Manchester M15 4GB, Tel: 0161 832 8034
John Moores Painting Prize 2023 | Walker Art Gallery | Liverpool | FREE-£5

Billed as the UK’s most well-known painting competition, the 2023 John Moores Prize showcases breathtaking individual pieces by some of the best fine artists in the country, culminating in an unmissable biennial exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. Since the competition’s inception in 1957, winners have included David Hockney, Peter Doig, Rose Wylie and Sir Peter Blake.

Open until Sun 25 Feb 2024, the exhibition features the first prize-winning artwork by Graham Crowley, alongside paintings by shortlisted finalists including Nicholas Baldion, Emily Kraus, Damian Taylor and Francisco Valdes.

William Brown St, Liverpool L3 8EL, Tel: 0151 478 4199
Golden Mummies of Egypt | Manchester Museum | Sat 18 Feb - Sun 31 Dec | FREE

Located in Manchester Museum’s new exhibition hall, a space dedicated to hosting ambitious installations which examine past, present and future, the immensely popular Golden Mummies of Egypt continues to introduce visitors of all ages to the fathomless wonder of Ancient Egypt with over a hundred artefacts and eight immaculately preserved sarcophagi.

While guaranteed to ignite a lifelong love of history for kids around the city, the exhibition also promises to captivate grown-ups with nuanced, thorough explorations of the unique perspectives on the afterlife held during the little-known Graeco-Roman period.

Stop by Manchester Museum to enjoy ancient history brought to life before the exhibition closes on New Year’s Eve.

Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL, Tel: 0161 275 2648
(Un)Defining Queer | The Whitworth | Open until Sun 3 Dec | FREE

A first-of-its-kind exhibition at the Whitworth delves into the gallery’s collection with a queer lens to explore the competing conceptualisations of ‘queerness’ itself.

Co-led by an intersectional group of people who self-identify as LGBTQIA+, (Un)Defining Queer examines same-sex love, desire and gender fluidity across different cultures in a sweeping vista of artwork that seeks to redress historic omissions, routinely overlooked if not perpetuated by historically heteronormative curatorial approaches in large museums.

Both internal collection art and loaned pieces make up the exhibition, which includes artists Ajamu X, Niki de Saint Phalle, General Idea, David Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Pearl Alcock, Keith Vaughan, Matthew Bamber, Sarah-Joy Ford, Wolfgang Tilmans, Chester Tenneson and Jez Dolan.

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER, Tel: 0161 275 7450
Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You | The Science and Industry Museum | Open until Jun 2024 | From £9

Open now in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, the ‘world premiere blockbuster exhibition’ based on the BBC Children’s TV series Operation Ouch! invites science enthusiasts of all ages to head into the human body on an odyssey of immersive ingestion, shrinking and squeezing visitors through a super-sized internal process where guests can finally experience the POV of poo.

Featuring interactive activities, a variety of fascinating items from the Science Museum Group’s collection and digital assistance from Dr. Xand, Dr. Chris and Dr. Ronx, the exhibition combines silliness and science to provide a unique insight into the complex journey undertaken by everything we eat. Visitors will travel through various tracts and tubes in an exploration of food as fuel, our inner ‘poo-duction line’ and the ways in which our systems fight bacteria, while embracing our funniest bodily functions and the ‘glorious grossness’ inside us all.

The Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Rd, Manchester, M3 4FP
Manchester Open 2024 | HOME | Sat 3 Feb - Sun 28 Apr | FREE

Running once every two years, HOME’s Manchester Open 2024 celebrates the best artistic talent across the region with a mixed-media showcase of stunning submissions from applicants of all backgrounds and experiences, having welcomed entries from professionals and first-time enthusiasts alike.

Displayed on the HOME Gallery walls from Sat 3 Feb to Sun 28 Apr, the panel-selected exhibition features paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, digital, video, audio and more, with winning artworks chosen in partnership with Castlefield Gallery.

2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 13 Nov 2023