Bankley Open Call 2014


Thanks to our artists for a fantastic and thought provoking Wrap Party to close the Bankley Open Call 2014. We heard from Holly Rowan Hesson about her winning installation Spark and her plans for her solo show in 2015, second prize winner Matt Davies about his pieces The Great Imposter and Office Times, Andy Broadey who discussed the ideas behind the Levenshulme Contemporary Art Centre and the documentation of the project within Bankley’s new Project Space, and from abstract painter Martin Olsson who has been awarded our first Artist Residency based within the Project Space.

Martin begins his residency in December and will be creating new work within the Project Space until March 2015 culminating in a solo exhibition, it is the first in what is hoped with be an ongoing residency program.


Andy Broadey


Matt Davies


Martin Olsson

Linkage II

Martin Olsson – Linkage II



Bubbling under detail Holly Rowan Hesson

Holly Rowan Hesson is an artist based in Manchester and Leeds. Since completing a practice-based MA in Contemporary Fine Art with Distinction in 2013, she has been initiating her own site specific projects and exhibitions as well as exhibiting across the North. She was selected by our Open Call 2014 panel as first prize winner for her photographic installation Spark.

Holly’s work explores process-led image-making that creates dialogues with material, sites and residual memories. Her work most often starts with a camera and ends in installation. Responding intuitively to her surroundings, she is compelled to alter what she sees, transforming solidity and the real into something more abstract, transient and ephemeral.

Riot detail Holly Rowan Hesson

Lucy Harvey: I wondered if you could tell us some more about your winning piece, Spark, and the processes behind the work?

Holly Rowan Hesson: Spark was originally made for a group show exploring abstraction held this summer (Society of Island Universes – and represents a departure from the work I was making in the year preceding that. I’d been working in an intense way, giving myself short timeframes, typically just a week, to make, produce, curate and show work in a site specific way, where all the work was made in and of the site where it was to be shown.

With Spark I wanted to challenge myself to make something that worked with the site it was shown in and with the other artist’s work, but actually could have a life beyond that particular exhibition as a work in its own right. I allowed myself to go back to thinking about abstraction in a purer way, in terms of colour and form, going through my catalogue of abstract photographs and experimenting further with materials I’ve been working with for a while for their particular properties that tie in with my core concerns, acetate and glass.

Bloom Holly Rowan Hesson

LH: What drew you first to photography as a medium and how has your relationship with it changed since undertaking your MA in 2013?

HRH: I was given a DSLR camera as a birthday gift in 2010 when I was in the middle of my year long foundation course and as soon as I started experimenting with making abstract images I was hooked. I’m really not a classic photographer though – my technical expertise if you’d like your photograph in focus and lit well is highly limited! Throughout my MA abstract photographs were my main outputs but my solo MA final show completely changed that overnight. At the end of April 2013 I gave myself ten days on site in a huge concrete shell of a building to start from scratch with no work and make an exhibition and it was a revelation – what I produced developed my work in an entirely new direction.

Now increasingly I use abstract image making with my camera as the first step in responding intuitively to my surroundings to start dialogues with material, sites and residual memories. I’m interested in transforming solidity and the real into something more abstract, transient and ephemeral and the images I produce with a camera often undergo multiple physical processes using different materials and more often than not end up as installations of sculptural objects.


LH: We know you’ve already got some ideas for your solo exhibition with us next year but we wondered if you could give us an insight into what you plan to develop for the show?

HRH: With an amazing six months to plan and make work in the studio for the solo exhibition as oppose to my now standard seven to ten days on site, anything could happen! I’m always keen to experiment and my first thoughts are that I’d like to use my prize money to investigate working with materials and with scale that I just haven’t had the funds to explore before. So I’m planning exciting trips to builder’s merchants and specialist fabricators. Beyond that you’ll just have to watch this space I guess!


WRAP PARTY – Sunday 26th October
It’s your last chance to catch the Open Call this Saturday and Sunday, 12-4pm. Holly and second prize winner Matt Davies will be joining us to discuss their work this Sunday at our Wrap Party in the gallery from 2-4pm, see our Facebook events page for more information.

We will also be launching out first ever Bankley Residency in our new Project Space on the third floor and our bar will be open, with kind sponsorship from the Levenshulme Pub Company. The Wrap Party + Bankley Residency launch is part of Levenshulme Festival 2014.

OCandOS 2014 A5

Bankley Open Call 2014

Launch event : Friday 10th October, 6-9pm
Open: Saturdays 11, 18, & 25 October, 12-4pm

RSVP to our Facebook Events page.

Shortlisted Artists:

Iain Andrews
Holly Rowan Hesson
Lisa Denyer
Claire Tindale
Jessica Edge
Irene Pérez Hernández
Sandra Bouguerch
Corinna Spencer
Stewart Geddes
Jane Fairhurst
Pat Flynn
Aaron Pearce
Matt Davies
Katrin Mäurich
Martin Olsson
Maggie Hargreaves
Gary Andrew Clarke
Cameron Scott
Axel Bottenberg
Jane Lawson

Selected by:

Chris Bloor, Co-Director of & Model Gallery, Leeds; Kate Jesson, Curator at Manchester City Art Gallery; Kwong Lee, Director of Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and Peter Seal, artist and overall winner of Bankley Open Call 2013.