Bankley’s first artist residency exhibition for 2015 has drawn to a close and artists Martin Olsson and Gary Andrew Clarke celebrated its ending by hosting a fabulous wrap party.
The selling show was a great success and we are proud to share the news that Martin Olsson enjoyed his stint at Bankley so much that he decided to join us permanently and become a member.
We’ll be seeing much more of both Martin and Gary around the gallery I’m sure.









Thirty Paintings About Nothing.
A show of paintings by Martin Olsson & Gary Andrew Clarke
Bankley Studios & Gallery, Bankley Street, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3PP
Saturday 14th March – Sunday 29th March 2015
‘Thirty Paintings about Nothing’ is a two person show featuring paintings by Martin Olsson (b.1971) and Gary Andrew Clarke (b.1970). Both are based in Bankley Studio.
Each of the artist’s work in a style best classified as Hard-edge abstraction, an approach that has its roots in 1960s West Coast America. It’s an idea that has a visual interest in pure geometry, and is characterized by its flatness of surface, fullness of colour, economy of form, and avoidance of imagery or metaphor.
Individually, both approach this idea with very different techniques and rules, and as a result the paintings take related but opposite viewpoints on shape, movement, colour, repetition and naming.
In his paintings Gary Andrew Clarke creates energy and movement using the push & pull of simple geometry, colour & tone. He has a longstanding fascination with the mathematically curious ‘Golden Ratio’ number (61.8034, known since classical times, and seen in maths and nature), and this proportion is used to influence the structure of the work, their internal shapes, and the relationships between the two. He lives & works in Stockport.
Martin Olsson’s work develops from a more rigid set of rules, and in this rigidity lays its rationale. He wilfully turns away from activity or movement, being solely interested in the realm of colour and proportion. The solid and strong use of colour is monotonously repeated to stress the bond between each work in the series. Olsson uses symmetry to further purge the surface of action, allowing the viewer to delve into strictly ordered yet functional stillness. He lives & works in Buxton.
Private View Friday 13th March 6.00 – 8.00pm
Open Saturday & Sunday 12.00 – 4.00pm from 14th March – 29th March 2015
Closing & drinks 29th March 2.00 – 4.00pm
Other times by appointment only (please phone 07541 888798 or 07505 905646)
Martin Olsson
Gary Andrew Clarke
Bankley Studio & Gallery


 Friday 28th November, 4-8pm

Saturday 29th November, 12-4pm

The Pop-Up offers visitors the perfect opportunity to buy unique gifts and affordable artwork directly from our resident artists. Join us for a mulled wine or something cold from the bar, and see the exciting diversity of work produced at Bankley Studios across our exhibition space and stalls, including prints, paintings, sculpture, jewellery and much more!

SAMs Art will be also be running a drop-in workshop suitable for all ages where you can make your own Festive Decoration on Friday 28th, from 4-7.30pm.

Munkispanner Clothing // Paul Dodgson // Lucy Harvey // Hannah Brown // Raul Gutierrez
Jane Dzisiewski // Clair Graubner // Ian Massey // Jessica Browning // Linda Spiteri // David Jarrett
Martha Jean Lineham // Stewart Kelly // Eric Morris // Stacey Coughlin

Why not make a night of it with Levy Night Market running over the road from 4-9pm on Friday 28th November? The Levenshulme Market hosts some of the best street food Manchester has to offer, independent traders selling fresh produce and unique gifts alongside live music and a full bar.

RSVP to our Facebook Events Page.

Festive Decorations

We’re receiving work this week for the second installment of the A6 Dialogue, a program of exhibitions and discursive events we’ve devised with our friends at PS Mirabel and Third Floor Studios. Our ulterior motive is to create better networks between the studios and artists working in the North West through creative discussions and shared events, and we hope to pick up new studio groups and artists along the way.

We’re the second host of A6 Dialogue, and the project is operating locally at the moment but we hope that next year it can grow and we can pass the baton on to other artist led groups up and down the UK. Let us know if you would like to get involved at: bankleygallery [at] gmail [dot] com.

a6 dialogue two


Read more about it here: and RSVP to our Facebook event page here:


Valerie Clarke is a mixed media artist who works predominately with natural materials. Based in Trafford, Valerie has worked in further education for many years and undertakes residencies, schools projects, commissions and collaborations. Her interest has recently expanded to consider society on a wider scale and in the contrast of sociological perspectives, focusing on the intimate, subconscious world of the individual.

Valerie will be exhibiting as part of the Sale Arts Trail which takes place this weekend alongside artists from Sale and beyond.

Q1. Your work brings presence and structure to ephemeral materials such as soil and hay. How do these processes come about and how important is experimentation in your work?    

The materials I use may be unassuming yet they are fundamental to the work. I have always been fascinated by growth and decay so this aspect of the materials feeds into the end results and I like the sense of impermanence which reflects our human condition. I explore our connection with the landscape we inhabit and thus the use of natural materials is key.

However, I do sometimes experiment in introducing less obvious materials such as glass and rubber which have a natural base but push the processes in other directions. The process of experimentation is equally important as this reflects the human state; we are shaped by our experiences.  Sometimes the effects of a process can be surprising and aspects like the temperature can make a significant difference to the result. I love this part of my work as sometimes it leads to unusual juxtapositions.


Q2. Your figurative and site specific works offers a real sense of intimacy and I wanted to ask how important this connection with the viewer is to the making process? What have you been recently working on?

I like to offer the viewer a new way of looking at materials which we may take for granted as part of our environment.  When I work in situ it is important to me that the work is truly connected to that place which involves getting a feel for the place and how people experience it, be that in the present or in investigating the history of the site, which I find particularly interesting. The viewer will draw their own conclusions about the work and I only facilitate a response; each viewer brings their own experiences which will inform a personal reaction.

Recently I have been working on two series; one exploring the traces of possible ‘presences’ in places, be that real or imaginary, and is enabling me to draw on psychological aspects of the human experience as well as the physical. The other body of work concerns the layers of experiences which shape our lives. This second series may take me into the use of man-made materials which will be a possible new direction for me.

Q3. It’s the first Sale Arts Trail this weekend which features your larger scale pieces alongside a whole host of other artists from Sale and the local area. What work are you showing?

For Sale Arts Trail I have maintained the use of natural materials in the pieces. I have been exploring other perspectives of the human experience in that I am also looking at thought processes. This work includes some pieces which abstract the figure and questions aspects of humanity. I believe I was also partly influenced by thinking about war, particularly the First World War and its impact on a whole generation. I had recently been re-reading Vera Brittain’s ‘Testament of Youth’ and I think that this has certainly fed into the work.

Sale Arts Trail kicks off Friday 11th July at Sale Waterside and continues across the weekend at a range of venues, Valerie’s pieces can be seen at Sale Waterside until 28th July alongside a host of artists and makers, including fellow Bankley resident, Lucy Harvey. Check out the Sale Arts Trail page for more information: & on Twitter at:

 Figures 1

Sale Arts Trail -  Map with front and back cover (final)

Bankley 1 - The Drift

Marielle Hehir, The Drift. Oil, Acrylic, Aerosol, Industrial, Gloss Paints on Canvas 120x120cm

Marielle Hehir (b.1986) is an artist currently based in Manchester, UK. Since graduating in 2009 with a first class honours in Fine art painting, Marielle has won awards, appeared in various publications and exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. She works from her studio at Bankley and in September 2014 will start her MA studies in painting at the Slade.

Q1. In your statement you talk about how you draw inspiration from the experience of nostalgia, the precarious nature of the present and our apprehension for the future. How did this side-wards glance at our needs for sentimentality and security come about in your work?

I’m a particularly melancholic person, I remember the past in great detail. The future is a space, which scares and excites me equally. The present is a state of flux in-between these two conditions. The awareness of and lack of control over time passing rapidly whilst I struggle to keep on track is consistently at the forefront of my thinking. There’s a daily battle of my ambition versus current condition.

Over the past few years I have traveled as much as possible in order to experience cultures that differ from the one I have sprung from. Travel is obviously eye opening and a catalyst for change in thought habits, but is also often a humbling experience. Either way it has become crucial to the development of my work.

I think my own sentimentality combined with an appreciation of life in all its forms is the seed here. We are finite and life is precious, fragile.
Essentially, I get a tad paranoid over the old ‘so much to do so little time’ saying. Whenever I start to think along this track, things I need to do start to pile up, multiply even. Be it countries I need to visit, books I need to read, people I need to speak to, anything. It becomes this scary, loud, crushing bombardment of stuff, which if I let it, would cease to make sense. It is this sense of overwhelming that I am definitely trying to convey in my work.
Of course, finding other artists whom deal with similar concerns has only encouraged me along this particular path. Fiona Rae has been a big influence on me, firstly for the way she uses her painterly language to build intense battlegrounds loaded with tensions on her canvases. But her interests lie in what it is to exist now and musings on future conditions.

Marielle Hehir, Your Flesh is Nice

Marielle Hehir, Your Flesh is Nice. 90x75cm Oil, acrylic, enamel on canvas

Q2. Your paintings draw architecture, graffiti, and graphic design (amongst other things) together with anatomical forms. These human references are rather fleshy and sensual but also somewhat concealed in other pieces and I wondered if your motivations were partly psychoanalytical?

Of all the visual codes that find their way into my work, I felt that the introduction of anthropomorphic forms tied it all together somewhat. I want to give a nod to the human footprint and the part it plays in the mess of existence, where consequences can be good or bad.
I wouldn’t say the motivation is psychoanalytical. But I am interested in experimenting with the layers of time, memory and conscious. Whilst painting I’m far too aware in what I’m laying down on the canvas and how the order of ingredients is going to affect the reading of the painting. There’s a whole sense of mischief that comes from this power of control. My decision to manipulate what the viewer is eventually going to see, in what order, in what proportion is essentially me playing. The layering and sometimes deliberated, sometimes accidental act of painting over sections to block out information, brings a sense of freedom to the act of painting. For example I might spend days painting an excruciatingly detailed pattern, only to paint over half of it a week later. I see these transient conditions as a metaphor for the temporary nature of existence.

Sometimes it feels as though the unseen within my compositions becomes more powerful than what is seen. I’m interested in provoking curiosity in the viewer of course, but also a sense of confusion and unease through absurd combinations of visuals, or as Freud would put it, the uncanny. All aspects within my work are abstracted, clues toward a reading, so I was never going to add wholly figurative forms to the picture. I really love Jacob’s Ladder, the film, for its portrayal of Jacob’s grotesque hallucinations. It got me looking into body horror techniques, and ways I could introduce part human forms to my work. Visually these techniques used in Jacobs Ladder are reminiscent of a Francis Bacon painting, and the director has cited Bacon as an influence, as do I. Bacon is, after all the master of a macabre abstraction of human form through painting. Then we’ve got Scott Walker’s The Drift, the feeling of discomfort whilst or after listening to that album is what I want to touch on with my work, (though perhaps not to quite such a horrific level). It’s a bizarre listening experience, with an unsettling rhythm. Walker makes obscure noises in obscure ways, like punching meat for example. This addition of an unfamiliar entity within the composition completely destroys any sense of security we could hope to feel. Because of the unseen, you can’t quite know exactly what’s going on or why, which is what makes it so compelling.


Marielle Hehir, work in progress 2014

Marielle Hehir, work in progress 2014

Q3. You’re off to the Slade in September to do your MA which is our loss and their gain. What are you hoping to get out of your time there and what parts of your current practice are you looking forward to taking further?

Well I’m looking forward to relocating in London. That in itself is going to be interesting, as environment certainly affects the process and resulting work. I’m prepared to see my work develop and change. It’s an exciting but nerve-wracking feeling. There is going to be a whole new level of input, which will alter my path. I talk about my work a lot with my peers, but this can be sporadic. I’m looking forward to mixing with a bunch of painters on a daily basis, where conversation regarding painting is constant. Communication and critique is so important to my work. I see the paintings themselves as a form of communication, so without engagement they cease to realize their full potential.
I’m looking forward to experimenting, and to a shake up basically. I think scale wise its all going to get bigger. Past few years my canvases haven’t been to the scale I’d really like them to be, mostly because of my moving around and the limits of whatever space I was working in at the time. It was a challenge to try to work small, which worked to a satisfactory degree but nothing more. But there were times when this has felt like a compromise, so that’s going to stop!
I’ve been working with irregular shaped canvas, it has become a main driving force behind my work. I design and make the stretchers myself, its all part of it to me. Not long ago I was making stretchers using slats from an old bed using a mitre saw on my kitchen floor. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting into the wood workshops at the Slade and using the power tools to my full advantage. I think my work will become far more ambitious. I’m interested with how a shaped canvas affects the reading of what is painted on the canvas, and also how the negative space around the canvas seems to interact with it, the borders of the work seem to become ambiguous. These spatial concerns will definitely be explored in my work over the coming months. I see the work moving into other dimensions, becoming more sculptural. Perhaps even installation. Its exciting. Who knows what will happen. Come see me in London to find out!

Bankley 3 - What Made it Special, Made it Dangerous

Marielle Hehir, What Made it Special, Made it Dangerous. Acrylic, Oil, Gloss, Spraypaint, Household paint, Varnish on canvas. 220x120cm