I love Manchester Art Gallery’s newest addition of a quiet room complete with its comfy modern sofas and armchairs, giving visitors a chance to simply sit and contemplate. Exploring the relationship between art and mindfulness. The two main paintings are so large and expansive they allow you to endlessly gaze into their spaciousness. Albert Irvin’s ‘Untitled 1973’, a bright yellow canvas brings feelings of warmth, comfort and happiness. Opposite ‘Mounts Bay’ seascape by Henry Moore (1886) transports you to the coast and a feeling of refreshment and calm.
Taking time out is such a simple task and can have immeasurable rewards. Being mindful of your thoughts, feelings and emotions can bring about positive feelings of happiness and wellbeing. It also helps us to be more creative. I definitely find this, as an artist, I often take a sketchbook with me to the gallery to draw what I see in front of me. I find it extremely meditative and the accompanying soundtrack to the exhibition tells you more about each painting and what you may not have noticed before.
Surrounding them are smaller paintings of the coast from St Ives, Wales and France. They are connected through the beauty of the coast, taking in the lightheartedness of Ben Nicholson’s window view ‘St Ives Bay’ (1931) or Peter Lanyon’s expanse of turquoise blue-green in ‘Silent Coast’ (1957) reflecting the ethereal vistas of the South coast.
A final thought to the city the Gallery resides in is through the upside down skyscrapers in Catherine Yass’s ‘Split Sides’ (2003), a meditative view of urban streaks and light flashes. The topsy-turvy nature of the digital print gives an air of beauty about the buildings we pass by everyday.
Enjoying some downtime, just sitting and being able to gaze at the art in this room solely designed for our contemplation is an inspiring concept by Manchester Art Gallery. It’s replenishing, comforting and makes you think they’re really thinking about the city visitors on their doorstep.
On until 15th March 2019
Manchester Art Gallery
Mosley Street, Manchester
* The exhibition artworks will change in November 2018 to reflect the new season!