If they haven’t reopened already, many art galleries are planning to welcome back visitors very soon. There’s a plethora of interesting and stimulating exhibitions taking place throughout the region. Below, you’ll find five of the best that are on now or coming soon. They’re not just in the Manchester area: there’s a couple in Liverpool, too. Please note that all the venues require the pre-booking of timed tickets, so it’s always worth visiting the gallery’s website before you pop down. Prefer to stay in? Explore art exhibitions that you can enjoy from home.

Three New Illustration Exhibitions at HOME | Fri 23 Oct - Sat 7 Nov

The gallery at our beloved local venue HOME is reopening with three simultaneous exhibitions. Nick Burton’s Our Plague Year explores the human condition during the Black Death via an episodic and darkly funny comic strip. Bubbling Pitch, by Mike S Redmond and Faye Coral Johnson features abstract drawings created following their residency in a dark and eerie stately home, while Blue Glass Fortunes is inspired by a vision artist Joy Yamusangie had of illuminated goblets. Despite the artists’ styles being very different, there’s a unifying use of seemingly childlike illustration to be found in this trio of new art collections.

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN, Tel: 0161 200 1500
Personal Stories from Salford in Days Like These | The Lowry | Sun 1 Nov - Sun 6 Dec

This collection shares stories from Salford in 2020. It features paintings, photographs, films, and poetry – all donated by local residents. Visitors are welcome to contribute, too. You’ll see vistas of empty streets and hear of the impact on frontline workers. The aim to is to reflect people’s hopes and fears by showing their different experiences – from the challenges of being alone to the joy of reuniting. The exhibition is part of Spirit of Salford, an initiative designed to celebrate the city’s personality. Learn more here.

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ, Tel: 0343 208 6000
Historic and Contemporary work combines in Utopias | The Whitworth | Until January

In his seminal book from 1516, Sir Thomas More coined a term that captured the human imagination: Utopia. The word was adapted from a Greek phrase meaning “no place”. So, did he propose that his vision of a perfect world was unachievable? This exhibition brings together historic and contemporary works from different genres and mediums to try to answer this question. It provides a framework to show how Britain’s literary and visual culture has imagined utopian societies over the centuries. See it until early January 2021.

The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER, Tel: 0161 275 7450
Lose Yourself in the Mesmerising Op Art in Focus | Tate Liverpool | Until Sun 17 Jan

Emerging in the 1960s, the creative movement Op Art – whose name is short for ‘optical art’ – combined lines, geometric shapes, and eye-popping colour. The images can be subtle or disorientating – fooling the eye by giving the illusion of movement – and its pioneering figures included Bridget Riley, Jesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely. The exhibition moves beyond the genre’s first wave to include pieces by contemporary artists, such as Angela Bulloch and Jim Lambie. The latter’s work Zobop covers the gallery floor with psychedelic patterning.

Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AB, Tel: 0151 702 7400
Personal Sculpture work in Sean Edwards' Undo Things Done | Bluecoat, Liverpool | Sat 5 Dec - Sun 21 Feb

Cardiff-born and internationally acclaimed, Edwards was this year awarded a £10,000 Turner Bursary. Known for his sculptural approach to the everyday, he spends time researching in local archives, museums, and libraries. Gathering seemingly unrelated objects and images, he assembles them in the studio so their social and political resonances can be seen. Undo Things Done takes as its starting point his experience of growing up in a council estate in the 1980s – capturing a way of living familiar to many people.

8 School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX, Tel: 0151 702 5324
Mon 12 Oct
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Thu 22 Oct 2020