A NEW contemporary art exhibition has been launched at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum.
Modern Painters: Contemporary Art from the Collection runs until June 27.
The Grosvenor Museum has been collecting local contemporary art since 1992.
Acquiring from artists connected with Cheshire and North Wales, the collection celebrates the quality and variety of the region’s artistic creativity.
Peter Boughton, the museum’s Keeper of Art, said: “This exhibition presents most of the paintings from our contemporary art collection, with works in oil, tempera and acrylic.
“The subjects extend from landscapes and architecture, figures and still life, to the realms of the imagination. Stylistic approaches are equally diverse, ranging from figuration to abstraction, and from the highly detailed to the boldly expressive.
“We hope that this exhibition will enable our visitors to discover some of the many pleasures of contemporary art.”
The exhibition’s title refers to Modern Painters, the magazine founded in 1988 by the art critic Peter Fuller.
He championed the values of craft, tradition and aesthetic conservatism, arguing for art’s redemptive mission as a vital antidote to the soulless and destructive effects of a materialist society.
The magazine’s title, in turn, refers to Modern Painters, five volumes published between 1843 and 1860 by John Ruskin, the most influential writer on art in Victorian England.
The largest picture in the exhibition is For God so loved the world, painted in 2005 in oil on canvas by Marguerite Elliott.
It is the climactic image of the huge number of pictures she produced as Chester Cathedral’s first artist in residence from 2000-2005.
The title is a quotation from the Gospel according to St John: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.
The painting was inspired by the Rood which stands at the heart of the cathedral, with carved wood figures of the crucified Christ flanked by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist.
The critic Mary Rose Beaumont said: “Marguerite Elliott’s evocations of Chester Cathedral are quite literally heavenly: she weaves skeins of colour into a tapestry of light and air.
“Her bold way with colour brings to mind JMW Turner’s paintings of Petworth House, in which details of interiors disappear into a miasma of colour and light and figures are barely hinted at.”
The programme of accompanying events includes:
May 5 - ‘Beneath the Painted Smile: A survey of faces in art’ lecture by Adrian Sumner.
May 8 - ‘Discover the Art of Portraiture’ art workshop for adults with Mary Gregis.
May 18 - Exhibition tour with Peter Boughton.
May 26 - ‘Rome: Baroque to Transavanguardia’ lecture by Adrian Sumner.
June 4 - ‘Sunlight and Shadows’ family activity.
June 19 - ‘Still Life’ acrylic workshop for adults with Julie Nicholls.
The Grosvenor Museum is open Monday–Saturday 10.30am-5pm and Sunday 1-4pm, admission free.