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Emily Allchurch : In the Foosteps of a Master


Emily Allchurch comes to Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham with her photographical series,18th July – 31st August 2015. Emily uses photography to recreate old master paintings and prints, creating contemporary narratives. Reinterpreting compositions by Peter Bruegel the Elder, Utagawa Hiroshige, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Adolphe Valette, her works are seamless digital collages using hundreds of photographs taken in contemporary urban environments. The complex photographic images have a resonance with place, history and culture, and deal with the passage of time and the changes to a landscape, fusing contemporary life with a sense of history.

The exhibition will showcase Allchurch’s celebrated Tokyo Story and Tokaido Road series, which pay homage to the 19th-century Japanese printmaker Hiroshige. Produced as lightboxes, they reveal not only the changing nature of the topography but also the changes to Japanese society and customs. They will be shown alongside rarely seen original Hiroshige woodblock prints on loan from the British Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery.

Also on display will be a selection of Allchurch’s works with an urban European theme. This includes a number of works from the artist’s Urban Chiaroscuro series (2007-2012) inspired by Piranesi’s haunting 18th-century etchings of imaginary prisons and her tour de force Grand Tour: In Search of Soane (after Gandy) (2012) in homage to the neo-classical architect Sir John Soane. Her newly commissioned work for Manchester Art Gallery based on Albert Square, Manchester 1910 by French Impressionist Valette will be on show, alongside Valette’s original painting, creating not only a dialogue between the Edwardian and contemporary city, but also traditional versus modern art production techniques.

Two works inspired by Bruegel’s The Tower of Babel will form the centrepiece in one of the galleries. Depicting the architecture and buildings of London, these lightboxes by Allchurch will inspire a series of workshops for families and young people throughout the exhibition exploring the role of urban areas and architecture in our lives. The artworks created in these workshops, facilitated by the artist, will form a collaborative, three-dimensional ‘Tower of Nottingham’ which will grow throughout the exhibition.

Artist Emily Allchurch says:

“In the Footsteps of a Master at the Djanogly Art Gallery is a fantastic opportunity for me to show my work from the last 10 years. By displaying the original woodblock prints by Hiroshige, alongside my 21st-century recreations, a direct dialogue is encouraged and explored. I am particularly excited, as part of the exhibition, to be working on a collaborative Tower of Nottingham with members of the local community. Inspired by my Tower of Babel (in homage to Bruegel), this 3-dimensional tower construction will be embellished with artwork created during workshops leading up to, and throughout, the exhibition. I hope the public will be inspired to come along to the gallery and make their own mark on this interactive installation”

In the Footsteps of a Master is based on an exhibition toured by Manchester Art Gallery. Albert Square, Manchester (after Valette) 2015 was funded through The Art Fund’s Art Happens scheme and the Tower of Nottingham has been funded by Arts Council England.

Posted on 15 June 2015

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