Love is in the air since the Whitworth art gallery has returned, with a breath of fresh air and aflood of light to illuminate the senses and inspire.After a yearlong £15 million revamp the Whitworth has welcomed thousands of visitors, and hopefully will continue to attract the masses with its stylish yet subtle make over.
The first exhibition room features Green: a range of the Whitworth’s diverse textile collection. One example featured is Susie Macmurray’s spherical arrangement of peacock features called ‘Caryatids’ (2004). The natural Green exhibit encourages us to engage with ‘the rebirth of the Whitworth and its new relationship with the outdoors.’ This suggestion from the guide book appears forced from the gallery’s immediate dark entrance, but comes alive in the next exhibition corridor. Sunlight floods in from Whitworth Park into the new gallery space creating a calm yet invigorating environment. The new architecture merges with the landscape, helping bridge the gap between the outside world and the insider art community.
The Whitworth contains a range of exhibit pieces ranging from portraits from the likes of Martin Maloney, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, to instillation, sculpture, prints, painting, photography and film. One room is dedicated to watercolours by the well-known J.M.W. Turner as well as John Edward Taylor, the son of the founder of The Manchester Guardian (now known asThe Guardian). This series shows the development of British watercolour from around 1750 to 1850.
From the modern era, there isa space dedicated to Cornelia Parker. A must see out of the collection is her work Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991). Blown up contents from a garden shed are suspended by wire surrounding a light bulb, wooden slats encasing the objects. This mysterious piece chimes with our very existence, the Big Bang, yet diminished to mere objects including a hot water bottle, bike tyre and toy dinosaurs.