EXHIBITION | ‘Thumbs Up’ at Castlefield Gallery | 24 Jan – 8 March 2020


Thumbs Up

Preview | Thursday 23 January | 6 – 8pm

Exhibition Dates | Friday 24 January – Sunday 8 March 2020

Venue Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

Opening hours | Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 5.30pm


Artists: Michael Beard, Frances Disley, Harry Meadley, and Leslie Thompson


Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts present Thumbs Up. Castlefield gallery will be reimagined by the artists as a place of research and learning, conversation and exchange. The exhibition considers how different modes of display in a contemporary art gallery condition the way audiences interact with the work. Responding to the physical spaces of the gallery the artists have developed the scale, materials, and methods of their work. The artists’ responses have been shaped by an ongoing dialogue with the creative teams at Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts to interrogate the gallery as their host. Working closely with the University of Salford has also expanded the project to incorporate expert advice on topics including; botany, energy efficiency, psychology, and horticulture.


The audience will activate the space and encounter works in new and unexpected ways. The artists have been working alongside each other to draw out corresponding themes in their work such as connections in popular culture, travel, movement, and use of colour. These meeting points will shape way the work interacts in the gallery, creating a welcoming and enveloping intervention in the depths of winter.


Thumbs Up marks the latest development in a partnership between Castlefield Gallery and Venture Arts. One strand of the collaboration, alongside the Whitworth, was recognised by the 2019 Manchester Culture Awards winning the award for Inspiring Innovation. Both organisations are deeply invested in offering sustainable residency and professional development opportunities for early-career and learning-disabled artists in the North, and committed to improving inclusion and accessibility in the arts. Following the exhibition a selection of work developed by each of the artists will enter into the permanent collection of the University of Salford Art Collection.


Images in carousel left to right: Michael Beard, ‘London’, 2018, Image courtesy of Venture Arts Leslie Thompson, ‘Me at the exhibition in Glasgow called Leslie Thompson Superstar Artist Drawer’, 2017. Photo: Martin Livesey Harry Meadley, Touchstones Part 1: Officers Meeting, 2018, HD Video 00:29:01, Image courtesy of the artist. Frances Disley, Tripleflex, 2019, Performed at Bluecoat as part of LEAP Dance festival, Image: George Ellis




Thumbs Up will also include a complimentary public programme including an artist-led tour, talks and practical workshops to explore some of the themes that have inspired the exhibition.


Book your place on our artists tour and panel discussion on Saturday 1 February, 1-4pm – Find out more.


Castlefield Gallery is a contemporary art gallery and artist focused organisation established in 1984. The gallery exhibits new and commissioned work at its main venue in Manchester, off-site and in the public realm. Castlefield Gallery works locally, nationally and internationally – often through dynamic partnerships and exchange. The organisation supports artists’ practice and career development, working especially with artists at early and mid-career stages. Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces re-purposes temporarily vacant property for use by artists across Greater Manchester and the North West of England, accessed by its 200 strong plus Castlefield Gallery Associates. 


The celebrated Ryan Gander OBE is Castlefield Gallery’s Artist Patron.

Castlefield Gallery is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio and is a Cultural Partner of Manchester City Council 2018-22. www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk


University of Salford Art Collection contains almost 700 works of modern and contemporary art, and exists for the benefit of students, staff and the public. It is accessible in key buildings across the University of Salford campus, and is loaned to other arts organisations and museums. The collection is distinctive in that it has an active acquisitions policy focused on three collecting strands: ‘About the Digital’, ‘From the North’, and ‘Chinese Contemporary Art’. Most acquisitions are developed through strategic partnerships with external exhibition and commissioning collaborators such as Open Eye Gallery, Castlefield Gallery, Salford Museum and Art Gallery and AND Festival. artcollection.salford.ac.uk/


Commissioned by


EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 4      WORK WITH US | Individual Giving Officer Vacancy

EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 2

With special thanks to Castlefield Gallery Commissioning Patrons

Curated and produced by

EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 4    WORK WITH US | Individual Giving Officer Vacancy


Supported by

EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 6  EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 3


Castlefield Gallery Exhibition Supporters


EXHIBITION | Thumbs Up at Castlefield Gallery | 23 Jan - 8 March 2020 5