Midlands Modern Review

The Midlands Modern exhibition is currently taking place in Parkside Gallery until January 14th, 2017 and is an opportunity to see some great exhibits of modern Midlands manufacturing. At a recent private viewing of the show, I got the chance to look through the range of exhibits on display.

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To start off some of my personal highlights, I first looked at the Gordon Russell exhibit containing the design work of Richard Drew Russell. This particular exhibit shows design work on chairs and includes a cathedral chair from Coventry. These chairs have interesting design elements to enhance the functionality of the seat.

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One of the most exciting pieces within this part of the exhibition is the 1949 Baffle Console and Radio Cabinet.  The design and curvature alone make it interesting. It also serves the purpose of baffling the sound from the radio console above making it a must see for audiophiles.

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Midlands Modern also features designer Susie Coopers work for Wedgewood Group. Wedgewood is still a household name in ceramics and tableware today but the Carnaby Daisy and Gay stripes surface patterns by Susie really makes this range of Wedgewood stand apart. The ceramics exhibit highlight how designs can change the nature of an ordinary object into something far more interesting aesthetically.

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Midlands Modern covers the wide spectrum of disciplines in manufacturing and design throughout the Midlands. The works of printed and woven fabric by Tibor Reich are on display within the exhibition space. In the mid-1950’s Tibor developed a brand new approach to textile design entitled Fotextur to create revolutionary next design for fabric. It is fascinating to see some of the different results of Tibor’s experimental design work in the gallery.

The Midlands manufacturing scene isn’t just known for its work with ceramics, design and fabrics. Midlands Modern includes a wide range of different displays including steel and metalwork, lighting and more.

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I would highly recommend visiting the gallery for this enjoyable exhibition as not only are the exhibition ranging in variety and interest but are a testament to midlands manufacturing over the years. Curator Richard Snell has also provided an interesting video to give you an insight to some of the thinking behind the designs. He also highlights that these designs are important as part of Midlands history and heritage and they will also be part of its future in manufacturing and design.

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A lot of companies involved that pioneered these designs are still going strong today. Their influences can be seen in other modern day products and manufacturing processes. With the Midlands beginning to experience growth again, new opportunities will arise in manufacturing and design. By looking into the manufacturing designs and successes of the past in Midlands Modern, we can see that they are still relevant today and could be a great influence for future design and manufacturing processes within the Midlands.

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Midlands Modern is now open and will continue until January 14th. Check out the website for more details on all of the current and future exhibitions and sign up for the regular newsletters.

Parkside Gallery is active on Twitter and Instagram via @ParksideGallery, so if you go to the exhibition, be sure to tweet or tag the gallery using #MidlandsModern

5 Christmas tips for Artistic people

Christmas is just around the corner with seasonal stress beginning to take effect. Art can often help relieve some of that stress and help give your busy schedule and hectic mind a rest. Here are 5 Christmas themed tips we have created for artistic people to help relieve the stress.

1.Visit the German Market:

You may think that the volume of people and the hustle and bustle of the Birmingham German market may be stressful. However, it’s all about timing. If you visit the market during the middle of a weekday and it becomes more peaceful. It also gives you a proper opportunity to browse some of the fantastic arts and crafts on display.

2.Winter Art Fair:

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then Eastside Projects Winter Art Fair might be for you. It launches during Digbeth’s First Friday on the 2nd of December and continues over the weekend. The gallery will be transformed and filled with affordable artworks, artist books and editions, music, homemade refreshments and will showcase independent artists and self-publishers from the West Midlands and beyond.

3.The Magic Lantern Festival:

This next festival is being launched for the first time in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens on the 25th of November. The festival is designed as a fusion of art, heritage and culture; a festival of light and illumination. Visitors will follow a trail around Botanical Gardens and explore giant lanterns and more while exploring traditional Chinese culture and the amazing 2000-year heritage of Lantern Festivals.

4.Winter Craft Fair at Ikon Gallery:

On the 25th of November Ikon Gallery will be holding its annual seasonal market showcase. The market contains bespoke handmade products by artists, designers and crafters from around the Midlands. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those unique one-off gifts for friends and family. The great thing about holding an event like this at the Ikon gallery is that you have the chance to take in the exhibitions that are on at the moment. Art, shopping and then a relaxing cup of tea/coffee (hot chocolate if not a fan of the others) makes it an ideal destination for artistic people.

5.Netflix and Bob Ross:

If you have had enough of  crowds stressing you out and want to relax. Pick some paints and canvas and be artistic from the comfort of your own home. The best way to do this is to watch Netflix. Relax with Bob Ross as he guides you through the Joys of Painting. There are over 30 episodes with more to come in the future. It  is sure to keep you busy and actively creative over the Christmas holidays.

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.” – Bob Ross ‘The Joys of Painting’.

That’s our five Christmas tips for artistic people. Why not share yours with us. It could be an event, something you like to do over the Christmas period or any tips you want to share us.

Let us know in the comments below. You can also Tweet us or tag us via Instagram and Twitter @ParksideGallery using #PGChristmasTips

The Spotlight: Helen Foot and her handwoven scarves

Helen Foot designs, image courtesy of Julia Nottingham.

Helen Foot designs, image courtesy of Julia Nottingham.

The latest exhibition to grace the Parkside Gallery, ‘Textiles&….’ provides a culmination of all things textiles, focusing on two contrasting themes – textiles & product and textiles & memory, featuring the outcomes of personal journeys.

The exhibition displays pieces from various renowned designers all addressing different themes, evoking contrasting feelings and emotions. Some of the work on show includes the collection of handwoven scarves by Helen Foot.

About Helen

Helen was educated at the Royal College of Art where she undertook a master’s degree in woven textiles. From this Helen went on to occupy the role of studio manager for scarf designer Wallace and Sewell in Islington, London.

The display

The products on display reflect how Helen predominantly works with natural fibres, wool, cotton and cashmere, and includes two lines of handwoven scarves with examples from all of Helen’s collections. Helen said:

“I hope that the playful, fun nature of the products is really delivered to visitors of the exhibition, I would like to think that my products on display portray a sense of happiness and light. I feel this work on show really does break out of tradition, especially with the new collection.”

The collections

New scarf collections are now produced roughly every two years by Helen, with all products being handwoven from start to finish. Current collections include the ‘Festival Collection’; inspired by the Festival of Britain, including 1950s colour palettes, ‘The Regal Collection’; a lightweight set of summer themed scarves made from 100% cotton and demonstrating bold sharp stripes, and finally the ‘Canvas Collection’; knitting and weaving using French knit tubing.

To find out more about the products that will be on display within ‘Textiles &….’ visit  Helen’s official website.

A look back at Birmingham Galleries Night

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Birmingham City University’s Parkside Gallery.

 

A highly anticipated event unique in its approach, a date on the calendar worthy of being highlighted extensively, and a culmination of intriguing conversations and likeminded individuals embracing both people and art of all varieties. Galleries Night.

The art lovers

The annual occasion where six of Birmingham’s best art venues open their doors to all culture lovers in a city-wide celebration of all things arty has finished for another year. The evening of October 30th saw hundreds of art enthusiasts from all over the world circulating around the city with the help of the designated ‘Art Bus’, chauffeuring guests to the doorstep of each gallery for free.

People of all ages and nationalities mingled around the galleries at their own leisure, accompanied by the odd complementary glass of wine and a handful of nachos. Their love of art being the one thing that undoubtedly united them all.

Something for everybody

Exhibitions, paintings and traditional sculptures in all shapes and sizes were but a few of the varieties available for viewing, whether it was Parkside Gallery’s ‘Punk Rock! So What?’ exhibition full of attitude, controversial images and punk artefacts spanning over the past 40 years, or a glimpse into 17th-century Dutch Portraiture from one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Galleries Night really did have something for everybody.

Let’s get social

The evening sparked conversations widely across social media, with various local bloggers and groups including ‘Instagrammers of Birmingham’ in attendance. One of its members made an extra special effort by dressing up as a skeleton, putting a Halloween twist on proceedings.

Here’s to next year

So now we look to next year, and anticipate another truly encompassing and diverse evening. If you didn’t make it this time, make sure you pencil October 30th 2016 in your diary, it will be worth it.

For more information on Birmingham Galleries Night follow us on social media at @parksidegallery or visit #BrumHour.

Reminiscing over Reich …

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After months of preparation and organisation, it is time to say fair well to the Reich exhibition! To celebrate the exhibition that has been displayed in the Parkside Gallery for the last few weeks, we have captured some of our favourite Reich pieces  for those of you that missed the terrific exhibition:


DSC_0595editDSC_0657edit (1)DSC_0610edit DSC_0613edit FullSizeRender (1)The Parkside Gallery hopes you enjoyed the exhibition as much as we did, but we are just as excited about the BCU in Pictures exhibition coming to the University on the 8 June 2015!

For more photos, follow us on Instagram: @parksidegallery or contact sara-anne.mills-bricknell@bcu.ac.uk for more information on our upcoming exhibitions.