26 January - 19 February 2017
Presenting artists' responses to the temporary presence in Leeds of Nicholas Monro's 1972 sculpture, King Kong, commissioned for Manzoni Gardens in Birmingham. For three months over the winter of 2016-17, King Kong stands on the steps of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds as part of their exhibition, City Sculpture Projects 1972. Marking the connection between the two cities, The King and I will include work in printmaking, audio installation and digital 3-D modeling produced by a collaboration between art and architecture students at Leeds Beckett University and Birmingham City University.
6 April - 13 May 2017
This solo exhibition by the artist Pete Ellis will include kinetic sculpture influenced by Surrealism and recent video works. Originally from Manchester, he trained at Manchester, Wolverhampton and at Chelsea School of Art where he was taught by the renowned sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. Ellis has taught art in Leeds for many years and exhibited widely.
The critic David Briers has written of him: "Pete Ellis uses found objects and found images in his work, rescuing items from charity shops and buying cheap hardware in bulk from superstores for 'home-made' assemblages, he reinvests them with movement and new inferred meanings. Ellis aligned himself with the ethos of the art povera movement, using utilitarian or scavenged materials of little or no commercial value as sculptural elements. But his work also makes reference to the earlier legacy of the Surrealists, and to the strategies of the Fluxus artists of the 1960s. Like them, Ellis engages critically and transformatively with our everyday experiences, often narrowing the commonly perceived gap between high and low culture. Ellis has an inclusive attitude to the means he uses to make his art. In addition to his assemblages of found objects, he has also produced a significant number of works in traditional fine art mediums such as drawing and bronze sculpture. Ellis displaces our conventional expectations of the cultivated sculptural medium of bronze, transmuting vulgar things that are usually depicted only in comics or cartoon films, like sausages, socks, and carrots, into objects of high art. Ellis also makes works for the time-based medium of digital DVD. However, in contrast to the high-speed digital technology that now imbues our daily lives, Ellis's recent video works paradoxically echo the analogue, low tech culture with which he grew up in Manchester during the 1950s and 1960s. The spark that enlivens many of Ellis's works is provided by the deployment of bathos - a sudden switch from an exalted mode of discourse to that of banal everyday obviousness. In all of the works Ellis has made over a period of thirty years, behind an immediately engaging facade of everyday familiarity and humour lie several layers of other, hidden agendas that only gradually reveal themselves."
25 May - 17 June 2017
Curated in collaboration with the art historian and writer Jo Melvin, based at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London and currently working on the Flanagan catalogue raisonné to be published by Modern Art Press, Yale, 2017, this exhibition will re-stage installation works dating from the 1960s and 70s by the internationally renowned sculptor Barry Flanagan (1949-2009). Using the artist's original instructions we will remake works involving light projection with sand, cloth and other materials in the interior spaces of the gallery.