28 November 2023

In her latest blog Venture Arts artist Louise Hewitt returns to Manchester Art Gallery, this time to get away from it all in Room to Breathe…

Louise is passionate about art and culture, visiting Manchester’s wealth of museums and galleries to gain inspiration for her own art and to write her bi-monthly Venture Arts blog. 

Artist Louise Hewitt stood in front of a framed picture of flowers on a gallery wall

Louise Hewitt in Room to Breathe.

My latest exhibition visit was to Room to Breathe at Manchester Art Gallery. I chose this art exhibition because of its connection to mental health, mindfulness and well being, which I am very interested in. As a volunteer at a Wellbeing Centre in Old Trafford I was inspired to visit and see what I could learn.

What I found interesting about this exhibition was that they’d used audio guides. You could listen to audio pointing out different things to look at within the art work and hear thoughts about the art from a different perspective.

Listening to the audio helped me think more about the colours, shapes, textures and different brush strokes that were used. Two art pieces I particularly enjoyed were Still Life 1950 and Flowers in a Vase. 


Introduction panel for Room to Breathe exhibition

The audio allowed me to look at art from a different perspective and to see things from a different point of view.

My favourite art piece was called Still life 1950 by Ben Nicholson (1894 – 1982). I liked this painting’s colours, golds, grey, cream, black, yellow and white. The other thing that stood out for me was the geometric shapes and lines he used, giving parts of it a three dimensional effect.

My second favourite art piece was called Flowers in a Vase (pictured below) by Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979). What I like about this piece of artwork was the different brush strokes, the different textures and colours used, the detail and the amount of shading to give a beautiful shadow effect to the painting. I felt connected to this painting due to my love of writing about nature and using nature to inspire my own artwork.

One that I found less interesting was Still Life 1918 by Edward Hartley Mooney (1878 – 1928). I had no audio for this piece and without that I didn’t find this painting very interesting at all. It was as though the audio accompanying the other pieces allowed me to view it from another perspective.


Louise Hewitt stood in front of a framed picture of flowers in Room to Breathe.

This art exhibition inspired me to write a piece of creative writing rather than create a piece of artwork. The poem is inspired by the art exhibition itself and named after it as this allowed me to put down my thoughts and feelings on how I felt after viewing the exhibition. You can read the piece at the bottom of this blog.

The accessibility to the venue is very good. There is a ramp at the main entrance to the venue and there are also lifts inside. Public transport to the venue is very good and very frequent. The cafe is nice and vibrant, and very spacious, but the menu is expensive for anyone on a tight budget.

I found this art exhibition to be one of the most tranquil and thoughtful ways of using audio and art together that I have experienced. It was rather amazing and unique. It allowed me to look at art from a different perspective and to see things from a different point of view. I would definitely recommend a visit, it is one of the most peaceful and relaxing viewing experiences that certainly allows you Room to Breathe.

Room to Breathe
By Louise Hewitt

There are times in our lives,
Where we just need room to breathe,
To get away from everyday hustle and noise of the outside world,
There is too much stress in everyday life, that sometimes you just want to explode.

Room to Breathe allows your mind to wander among the paintings,
Audio allows you to view work in a different way,
To see colours, shapes and textures,
To forget about time, deadlines and workloads,
Drift off as though you have all the time in the world and nothing else matters…

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