Bankley Open Call


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



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.

OC 2014 lo res (1)

Following on from our immensely successful inaugural Open Call in 2013, which saw over seventy artists submit work from across the UK, this year sees the second Open Call exhibition at Bankley Gallery in Manchester. Submissions are invited from practicing artists working in any 2D or 3D medium, in film and in video.

We again have an impressive panel of art world professionals who have agreed to select the work for the exhibition and who will also decide upon the prizewinners. This year’s panel is comprised of:

Chris Bloor, Co-Director of &Model Gallery, Leeds

Kate Jesson, Curator at Manchester City Art Gallery

Kwong Lee, artist and Director of Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

Peter Seal, artist and first prizewinner of Open Call 2013

Work by the selected artists will be exhibited at Bankley Gallery in October, with a private view on the evening of the 10th. Our first prize winner will be awarded  £500 cash and the opportunity to hold a one-person show at Bankley Gallery in 2015, and second prize of £150 art materials voucher to be spent at Fred Aldous, Manchester, will be announced at the opening ceremony. The show will continue until Sunday 26th October.


Peter Seal

Awarded first prize at the Bankley Open Call in 2013, abstract painter Peter Seal showed his paintings and collages at Bankley Gallery in July 2014. Ian Massey, who also wrote an accompanying text on Seal’s work, curated the show. Critical reaction to the work was overwhelmingly positive, and the artist made substantial sales. Read the exhibition text here.


Robin Meganity

Following on from his award of second prize at the Bankley Open Call show in 2013, Robin Megannity was approached by Bureau, Manchester, who offered him a show of his highly accomplished figurative oil paintings. Entitled Compression, Robin’s show was held at Bureau, Manchester (March-May 2014) before then touring to The Studios, New Mills, Derbyshire in July. Read more here.

Read more about last year’s Open Call here:

The deadline for this year’s Bankley Open Call is 5th September, find out about how to enter here:


invite lyrs 2

Private View: Friday 18th July, 6-8pm (all welcome).

Open: Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-4pm until 27th July 2014.

Following on from his award of first prize in the inaugural Bankley Open Call exhibition last year, this show presents an opportunity to enjoy a major body of works on canvas and paper by the artist Peter Seal.

Born in Scotland, and resident in Manchester since the early Eighties, Peter Seal has built a solid reputation for his quietly powerful abstract paintings. The work is notable for its subtle geometries and resonant colour. Notwithstanding their apparent simplicity, each of Seal’s paintings can be six to eight weeks in the making, much of which might be not in the physical act of painting itself, but in a highly considered assimilation or “settling time”. The work is notable also for its craftsmanship and its beauty of surface, achieved through a gradual process of layering.

Along with canvases, Seal will also show a substantial group of black and white collages. These are more organic in form and process to the paintings, and serve as a parallel activity.

The show has been curated by Ian Massey, for further information, please contact:




Now the Open has drawn to a close and the work has been sent back to our selected artists we can gratuitously share photographs of the exhibition here. Thanks to all the artists who entered, to the gallery team who put the show together, and the judges and sponsors too.

And a very special thanks to Willow Rowlands who took these wonderful photos of the show.



First prize winner, Peter Seal


Jenny Core – Portrait


Willow Rowlands


L-R: John Brennan, Lisa Denyer


L-R: Lisa Denyer, Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert


John Brennan- This is Reality


Lisa Denyer


Robin Megannity


Robin Megannity


Carolyn Curtis Magri


Carolyn Curtis Magri


Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert


Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert


Peter Seal


Bankley OC Wrap party square_web (1)If you can’t make the Open Call exhibition this Thursday or Friday then we have a fabulous bonus opportunity to see the work before it’s pried off and packed this Saturday with our Wrap Party. We’re open for general merriment from 6-9pm as part of this year’s Levenshulme Festival.

It’s also the Levenshulme Market  from 10-4pm, so if you fit in a stop off at Trove, or the Antiques Village after that you’ll be just in time to come see us. A whole day out for you there, you’re welcome.lpc_logo

By: Lucy Harvey


Manchester based artist Willow Rowlands was selected for the Bankley Open 2013 for her two process led photographic pieces. She is currently studying BA (Hons) Visual Arts at Salford University and was the sole undergraduate artist in the final shortlist for the Bankley Open. We ask her about her use of process and polarity, and what open exhibitions offer to both students and graduates.

Catch her work in the remaining week of the exhibition, open this week Thursday 24th and Friday 25th from 12-4pm, or at our wrap party this Saturday night from 6-9pm.


Lucy Harvey: Your work involves drawn out process and you say you develop the work in response to formal limitations, could you expand on how these limitations come about and inform your work? 

Willow Rowlands: Total subjective experience exceeds the capacity of every communicative form, so a proportion of primary content is inevitably lost in translation. What remains is compromised by superfluous noise. Be it lexical, computational, pictorial or paralinguistic, each system exhibits specific characteristics, which impress upon the information passing through. Content is worn by noise and pocked with omissions. These are the formal limitations I referred to.

I work through a succession of media formats, chosen for their lack of relative consonance. The steeper the translation, the greater the effect it has on content. I plot each stage based upon the outcome of the previous action. For example, the Untitled series (of which I & II were selected for the Bankley Open Exhibition) began with a canvas bag. When photographed in soft focus at close range, the woven fabric translated as a mottled blur. I responded to this lack of definition by overlaying a sharp, digital drawing of an icosahedron net.

It’s about identifying the missing element and grafting an approximation. Yet the work is never whole, as every attribute gained represents an attribute lost. Because modes of communication offer a reduced palette, it’s easier to express difference in polarity than nuanced gradients. My affection for this funny condition influences the way I play with limitations.


LH: This polarity is particularly clear in the pieces in the Bankley open which manage to weave together both analogue and digital processes, three dimensional and two dimensional states, with organic and geometric forms. What initially inspired your exploration of absence through such complex juxtaposition?

WR: When two communicative forms are boldly dissimilar, accurate translation of content from one to the other involves a kind of reassembly. For example, the Turkish word for ‘snail’ is ‘sümüklüböcek’, which translates directly as ‘snot bug’. In order for this sentiment to survive translation, the word requires an aside or a footnote; it has to be reassembled. While the notion of a ‘snot bug’ can be Anglicised, the cultural implications of a lexically enshrined consensus are impossible to translate.

My process could be analogised as a series of direct translations between incompatible languages. For example, it’s possible to mould an object from a two dimensional image, but it’s third dimension is likely to be discontinuous.

The dissonance caused by switching between irreconcilable formats, makes clear that something has been lost in translation. The subjective content at the core of every process is inexpressible, but if something can be lost, then it exists. That’s why I think an exaggerated incompatibility with communicative forms, is the only way to define something that’s indefinable.

Alternating between media helps me to visualise the translation process, but it’s also a strategy for avoiding specialism. The more familiar I become with a range of practices, the less sense they make to me in isolation. The weight of sculpture is only relative to the frailty of pencil marks. The remoteness of sound software is relative to the physicality of audio tape.

I don’t think about where my curiosities come from when I’m in the studio. Although I can detect a concept like polarity when I stand back, my experience of making is pretty wordless. Above and beyond any theoretical underpinning, I’m engaging with an emotional, tactile process.


LH: I wondered what your thoughts were on revealing the extensive processes behind your work to your audience? Do you see this way of working as a journey or an editing process?

It’s possible to curate a project as a journey. At times, I’ve presented work in the form of an illustrated catalogue of actions. Intricate documentation of process, appeals most to viewers with technical sensibilities.

But the encryption of subjectivity is a mysterious thing. For every technical mind, there’s a cinephile seeking a controlled, theatrical revelation. The curation plan for this section of the audience is necessarily editorial.

I’m currently working towards a holistic means of presentation. Communication is both an art and a science; two fields which at first glance, imply distinct methodologies. Yet the dividing line is more fluid than ever. I may yet identify a strategy for integrating the methodical with the intangible.


LH: We’re interested to explore the role of open call exhibitions for artists at all stages of their career, including those in formal education. What does your selection for the open mean to you in terms of your final year at university and your practice?

WR: I’m working towards the degree show in June, so my availability to curate projects is almost non existent at the moment. Having my work accepted for the open call has meant being able to keep my CV moving, without taking time out from the workshop.

Being linked with established artists has increased the traffic for my website and blog, which in turn has led to new people taking an interest in the work. Taking part in Bankley Open Exhibition has brought a measure of professional validation, and that’s worth a great deal to students and recent graduates. So, thank you for that.

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