Top 10 art events in Birmingham

As the new university year begins there is plenty to see and do around the city. With exhibitions, events and festivals, Birmingham’s art scene offers something for everyone.

Parkside Gallery has picked its top 10 events and exhibitions in Birmingham this autumn.

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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

I Want! I Want!: Art & Technology at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is the city’s biggest art museum. As well as a large collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings and historic objects it hosts contemporary exhibitions.

I Want! I Want!: Art and Technology features some of the most influential artists of the last 20 years. But you’ll have to be quick to catch this exhibition before it closes on 1 October.

(1 April – 1 October 2017)

Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage at the Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham doesn’t only hold books. It also puts on exhibitions and music events throughout the year.

Its upcoming exhibition, Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage, will explore Britain’s 400 year relationship with South Asia. Celebrating Birmingham’s diversity, the exhibition will investigate how this connection has shaped the city.

(15 July – 4 November 2017)

Digbeth First Friday

Digbeth is a thriving hub of upcoming artists and spaces.

The first Friday of every month Digbeth comes alive. Live music, street food and entertainment fill the streets as galleries and venues host a range of late night events.

(The first Friday of every month, 6pm until late.)

Pleasure is a Weapon at Grand Union

Susie Green’s first UK solo show, Pleasure is a Weapon will combine sculpture, performance and painting in an exhibition at the forefront of contemporary art.

Look out for a series of performances, talks and screenings that will accompany the exhibition.

(1 September – 18 November 2017)

Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC)

The MAC’s upcoming exhibition redefines landscape photography. Saddleworth Moor: Responding to a Landscape showcases the work of photographer Matthew Murray and his unique approach to photographing the world.

Also check out the MAC’s packed programme of theatre, cinema and art events.

(18 November 2017 – 21 January 2018)

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Brummagen at Parkside Gallery

Well we had to include one of our own exhibitions at some point. And Brummagem deserves its place on the list!

Sara Kulman and Andrew Kulman chart the history of Birmingham’s buildings in Parkside’s upcoming exhibition. Illustrations, paper sculptures and animations explore the overwhelming sense of nostalgia as Birmingham is redesigned and regenerated.

(18 September – 27 October 2017)

Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz at Ikon Gallery

Ikon gallery is one of the city’s most distinguished galleries. Situated in Brindley Place, Ikon hosts national and international artists in a packed programme of exhibitions and events.

In its upcoming exhibition, Portrait of the Artist: Kathe Kollwitz, Ikon explores the life and works of Kollwitz – one of the leading artists of the early 20th century. Showcasing 40 prints from the British Museum collection, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience the emotional quality of Kollwitz’s drawings.

(13 September – 26 November 2017)

Fierce Festival

Fierce Festival is one of the country’s biggest live art festivals. For one week it fills the city with theatre, dance, music, installations and live art.

This years’ highlights include Be the Change at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and live art in Victoria Square.

(16 October – 22 October 2017)

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The New Art Gallery Walsall

Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice at The New Art Gallery Walsall

Not all of the Birmingham’s art is in the centre of the city. The New Art Gallery Walsall is one of many acclaimed galleries that exist across the region.

Works by Turner and the contemporary artists that he has inspired come together in a unique exhibition as part of the gallery’s ongoing partnership with the Tate.

(22 September 2017 – 14 January 2018)

Birmingham Weekender

Birmingham Weekender is the city’s biggest art festival, hosted by some of Birmingham’s most prestigious venues.

This year’s festival is jam-packed with dance, exhibitions, parties, curator talks and much more. With events ranging from an orchestra in a multi-storey carpark to an Art Rave at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Birmingham Weekender looks set to be a highlight of the year.

(22 September – 24 September 2017)

‘In the Loupe’ @ Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery

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Over head view of ‘In the Loupe‘ @ Vittoria Street Gallery

‘In the Loupe’ is the inaugural show for the new Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. The exhibition brings together a multi-disciplinary group of ‘artists, educators, researchers and practitioners from the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and Design’  (Zoe Robertson). The show is also applauding the work of School of Jewellery Alumni, in addition to the Gallerist Victoria Stewart, as she is celebrating her 10th Anniversary as Director of The Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery.

The creators exhibiting are as follows:

Dauvit Alexander, Beaulagh Brooks, Sybella Buttress, Rachael Colley, Sally Collins, Sian Hindle, Andrew Howard, Bridie Lander, Anna Lorenz, Jo Pond, Claire Price, Zoe Robertson, Fern Robinson, Kate Thorley and Maria Whetman.

Zoe Robertson kindly gave us a Curators Tour of the new exhibition,and her insights are reflected throughout this article.

“What we’re trying to do is celebrate the depth and diversity of what we do here at the School of Jewellery, each member of staff has a really different voice, a really different style and a really different practice or concept that they are exploring”

– Zoe Robertson

The exhibition truly emphasizes the ever changing nature of the Jewellery Industry, as there is an eclectic mix of designing, methods and materials used. The show will be highlighting the breadth of talent of those involved, through the collaboration between The Plymouth College of Art and Design and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. There is an interesting contrast between these jewellery styles, with the coastal landscape evidently reflected in the materials and textures used in the Plymouth alumni’s pieces as demonstrated by Sybella Batress in her use of sea-life-like textures and Maria Whetman’s use of precious materials that are reminiscent of coastal rock formations. (Pictured below)

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Maria Whetman, Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni.

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Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni

Whereas the Birmingham based Makers styles are more reflective of the Industrial Landscape that this city offers – echoed in the various tones and treatments of the metals and materials used in the works.

These industrial, aged textures are prominent in Jo Pond’s work. Jo pond is a narrative Jeweller who creates works that are extremely multi-faceted in narrative, materiality and meaning. Her work really resonated within me and I feel it was one of the strongest within the exhibition.

 

I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate… Some of these find their way into my work.’ – Jo Pond, Jopond.com

 

According to colleague Pete Croton, ‘ Jo takes old objects, is able to retain the original quality, and turns them in to something beautiful’. Croton went on to explain the original objects, revealing one as a match stick holder, beautifully crafted and adorned with lettering that created a new narrative within the piece. Zoe Robertson expanded upon this by explaining that the lettering on the piece was  taken and reconstructed from old biscuit tins. (Picture Below)

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Works By Jo Pond, School of Jewellery Alumni

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To find out more about Jo Ponds practice, you can visit her website: jopond.com

The Curator and Director of  The Victoria Street Gallery – Zoe Robertson has exhibited a past work (pictured below), that was part of the development of Flockamania. You can find out more about Flockamania at Parkside Gallery by viewing our past blog post on the show. Flockamania fused performance and contemporary jewellery making that resulted in an innovative and vibrant Show and series of performances.

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Work By Zoe Robertson, Director of Vittoria Street Gallery

“My past work has been a real investigation in materials, I really like industrial materials that aren’t used in the traditional, commercial side of jewellery”

– Zoe Robertson

The detailing that has gone in to this piece is immense, with a multitude of processes being utilised. Such as flocking; sublimation and vacuum forming. The outstanding qualities of the work is firstly in the drawing that has been sublimated on to the work. Using special inks that has been transferred using heat and pressure. Secondly, in the vibrancy achieved in the flocking that adorns the entirety of the work.

 Overall the show is an eclectic and engaging inaugural show for Victoria Street Gallery, which reflects the breadth of the Jewellery Industry and the talent of the makers both at Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and design.

All those involved in the realisation of ‘In the Loupe’ should be congratulated. We look forward to more successful exhibitions!

The exhibition is running until Friday 16th December 2016.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, term time only. Please be aware that the Gallery is not open on weekends.

To keep up to date with the new Victoria Street Gallery and for more information on the individual practitioners, you can access the links below:

https://victoriasewart.com/exhibitions/in-the-loupe-exhibition-in-conjunction-with-plymouth-art-weekender/

https://twitter.com/soj_bcu?lang=en

https://twitter.com/Vittoria_S

Leanne O’Connor works as a Marketing and Events Assistant here at Parkside Gallery, and is in her Final Year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Margaret Street School of Art.

Supersonic Festival 2015

Supersonic festival is partnering with internationally renowned Moog Sound Lab and Birmingham City University, to create a four-week artist residency programme based at The Parkside building from 1 June 2015.

Dr Robert Moog (pronounced like ‘vogue’) first introduced the world to the ‘Moog Modular Synthesiser’ a new type of instrument just over fifty years ago.

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Although Moog himself was not musically talented his instrument has gone on to become an influential and fundamental element, with regards to changing music history and becoming a key fixture within experimental and rock compositions.

Audiencefalcons will famously recognise the use of the Moog Sound in the majority of Kraftwerk’s seminal 1974 album Autobahn, the guns in the newest Star Trek movies and the taking off sound of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon.

The Moog Sound Lab continuously moves to different venues and was previously pioneered at Rough Trade NYC. The lab becomes a temporary residential space offering a unique opportunity for artists to explore and create. There will be a number of academics and students from Birmingham City University that will be able to experiment and compose with the iconic instruments, but the festival will also feature the following artists:

4 June 2015 – Sarah Angliss: Award winning composer, roboticist and historian of sound.

9 June 2015 – Free School: A Birmingham retro-futurist, mask-donning disco duo, exploring a unique fusion of electro house, Balearic and Kosmiche.

11 June 2015 – Gazelle Twin: Twisted Cronenberg-inspired persona of producer, composer and artist – Elizabeth Bernholz.

As part of the Supersonic Festival, the All Ears exhibition will be at Millennium Point for two weeks from 1 June 2015 and will display a collection of archaic music boxes alongside a selection of new works, in response to the innovation of early technology and programmable music machines. Owl Project, Sarah Angliss, Morton Underwood and Paul Gittens are some of the artists who have contributed their fascinating pieces.

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Admission for the All Ears festival is FREE, but do not hesitate to contact parkside.gallery@bcu.ac.uk for more information on any of the activities and opportunities regarding the festival.

BCU Swipeside Festival 2015

Flatpack Film Festival is now in full swing and for the second year, the festival has worked alongside a team of visual communication, media and art students from Birmingham City University  to curate and deliver a new strand: Swipeside.

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Swipeside runs for one week from 23-30 March in the brand new Parkside Building and has a number of exciting events, talks, screenings and workshops all taking place.

There will also be a host of national and international guests attending the official launch in the Parkside Gallery on the 24 March, including Nobuaki Doi and Mirai Mizue, Priit PärnCyriak, BAFTA-winners Will Anderson & Ainslie HendersonChris Randall, and Eimhin McNamara. Continue reading