Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

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Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art presents changing exhibitions of new work by emerging and established artists from the UK and abroad, bringing key new works of art of our time to new audiences. The gallery runs a programme of talks, tours, education activities, workshops and artists residencies, providing a range of different opportunities for people to engage with the visual arts in an imaginative and inspiring way.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday / Tuesday / Thursday / Friday 9.30 - 5.00
Wednesday late opening 9.30 - 7.00
Saturday 10.00 - 4.00

Closed: Sundays

Admission charges


Collection details

Architecture, Design, Fine Art, Photography

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Mat Jenner

Mat Jenner - Days

  • 24 July — 5 September 2015 *on now

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) is pleased to present Days, an exhibition of new work by the London based artist Mat Jenner. Responding to the NGCA’s occupation of the top floor of Sunderland City Library, the artist has reimagined the gallery as a communal space that encourages visitors to lounge, socialise and spend time.

Central to the exhibition is Jenner’s on-going project FOAM, a peripatetic collection of commissioned artist’s sound works. Initiated by Jenner in 2013, the project is at once an archive, sculpture and performance that foregrounds the physical and social aspect of listening and artistic experience. With over 120 artistic works accumulated so far, each work is presented as a unique, one-off 12” record, which visitors are invited to select and play within the gallery space. Significantly, the project is devised in contrast to the pervasive availability of digital media content. Each record is unique, neither replicated or broadcast online and can only be listened to in situ in the gallery space.

Central to Jenner’s work are questions concerning distribution and display. What does it mean to work against easy access to content? What power does the aura of an original have in the age of the digital copy? FOAM attempts to manifest slowness as an aesthetic and political counter point in an era when speed and immediacy is expected and demanded.

To coincide with the exhibition the NGCA, in collaboration with Jenner are proud to announce a series of newly commissioned sound works including contributions by Paul Becker, Graham Dolphin, Ruth Beale, Francis Scott, Harry Burke and Sam Watson.

Artists that have contributed to FOAM to date include:
Agata Madejska, Alice Theobald, Alice Gail Feeny, Alistair McClymont, Anna Barham, Anne Hardy, The Asterism, Aura Satz, Benedict Drew, Berry Patten, Bevis Martin & Charlie Youle, Brian Moran, Bronwen Buckeridge, Cally Spooner and Peter Joslyn, Candice Jacobs, Cecile B Evans, Charlie Woolley, Charlotte Prodger, Christopher Kulendran Thomas & Amnesia Scanner, Chris Rawcliffe & Andrew Bunsell, Connie Butler, Kilian Immervoll & Sophie Lee, Daniel Keller, David Raymond Conroy, Dawn Scarfe, Dexter and Finbar Prior, Diana Policarpo, Emma Hart, Erica Scourti, Fay Nicolson, GandT, Giorgio Sadotti, Hannah Black, Hanna Schwarz and Phillip Sollmann, Haroon Mirza, Hayal Pozanti, Heather Phillipson, Holly Antrum, Holly Slingsby, Ian Whittlesea, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Jack Brindley, Jack Stokoe, James Prevett, Jenna Finch, Jess Flood Paddock, Jesse Darling, Jimmy Merris, Joey Holder, John Lawrence, Juneau Projects, Kevin Clarke, Kirsty Harris, Koudlam, Larry Achiampong, Lars TCF Holdhus, Lucy Clout, Lumpen Noblemen, Maia Conran, Maria Theodoraki, Marie D'Elbee, Mark Dean, Mark Vernon, Mary Hurrell, Matt Golden, Matthew Noel-Tod, Mike Harte, Euan Rodger & Jamie Shovlin, Mikhail Karikis, Murray Royston Ward, Naive Set & Marijn Van Kreij, Neil Taylor, Nickolas Mohanna, Nicole Bachmann, Nina Wakeford, Octagon Court, Oliver Sutherland, Olivier Castel, Patrick Coyle, Patrick Goddard, Patrick Staff, Paul Purgas, Phil Hession, Philomene Pirecki, Picana Electrica, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Piotr Łakomy & Filip Kaniecki, Plastique Fantastique, Prem Sahib & Richard Lockett, Rachel Cattle & Steve Richards, Rebecca Lennon, Richard Bevan, Richard John Jones, Richard Sides, Rob Chavasse, Rob Lye, Rowena Harris, Ruth Barker, Salvatore Arancio, Sam Belinfante, Sarah Jones, Seb Patane, Sebastian Jeffords, Simon Raven, Skye Chamberlain & Max McFerren, Sophie Michael, Squares and Triangles, Steven Dickie, Stewart Home, Stuart Bannister, Tamarin Norwood, Tellervo Kalleinen, Thrape, Tim Pratt, Tris Vonna- Michel, Will Holder, William Evans and Julia Crabtree, Yuri Pattison.

Mat Jenner (born 1976, UK), recent exhibitions include Dreams Time Free at Grand Union, Birmingham, Wish you were here at the ATTIC, Nottingham, and FOAM at Wysing Arts Centre – Cambridge, And/Or and Project Number – London.

Please note that the exhibition opening will coincide with ‘Ringbinder’ a major solo exhibition of work by Jeffrey Dennis, guest curated by Andrew Hunt.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly




Jeffery Dennis

Jeffrey Dennis - Ringbinder

  • 24 July — 17 October 2015 *on now

Guest curated by Andrew Hunt

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is pleased to present ‘Ringbinder’, a solo exhibition by Jeffrey Dennis, which will consist of a new series of paintings and sculpture housed in NGCA’s reconfigured main gallery space. Aside from staging a concentrated progression of the artist’s work made between 2011 and 2015, the exhibition will also attempt to reflect on Dennis’ development since his initial profile in Britain was formed during the early 1980s. This was a period that saw a significant international resurgence in painting in parallel with the ‘New Image Painting’ in North America and the ‘Jungen Wilden’ (Young Wild Ones) in Germany, both of which were considered counter-movements to Conceptual Art.

As if referencing a synthesis of this historical polarity, Dennis’ painting The Artist Successfully Levitating in the Studio (2011) pictures a full-length self-portrait in mid-air surrounded by a plethora of psychedelic bubbles. A reversal of the great conceptual artist Bruce Nauman’s Failing to Levitate in My Studio (1966), The Artist Successfully… presents an impossible and affirmative act against (what one might call) certain canonized ‘labourer priests of the negative’, such as Nauman and Samuel Beckett, in whose work failure’s gravity exerts its pull everywhere. In essence, Dennis’ minor comic triumph countervails negative forms of motion through a sense of revelatory wonder and aspiration.

Other subject matter includes graphic Bengali cinema posters, images from a technical handbook of fixtures and fittings retrieved from a skip in the 1970s, as well as films such as Jean Luc Godard’s self-conscious critique of consumerism Two or Three Things I Know About Her; reference points that provide the artist with the tools for constructing enchanted visual spaces in his strange objects. Surrounded by Dennis’ signature painted bubbles – a device originally taken from a scene in Godard’s film in which froth on a cup of coffee dissipates – the artist transforms the micro to the macro; a situation in which we travel from foam in a washing-up bowl to different points in inter-galactic space.

Dennis has recently developed a number of new three-dimensional objects that act as portable multi-faceted stage sets. Studded with vignetted painted imagery, each ‘sculpture’ contains a narrative that springs from popular events taken from television, newspapers and his own photographs. Personal and political histories are exemplified in a work that refers to the area of north London in which the artist lives, through the depiction of a flower-monument at the inconspicuous site of the shooting that sparked the nationwide riots of 2011, as well as drawing reference to Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm riots twenty-six years earlier in 1985.

If during the 1980s and early 1990s, Dennis’ work was included in significant shows in the UK and US, then his subsequent development has been interestingly awkward, typical of painting’s wider expansion since the 1980s through his unusual, divergent and contradictory subject matter. This exhibition, the painter’s largest in the UK for thirty years, will hopefully prove to be significant for the wider discourse currently surrounding painting in the UK and abroad.

Jeffrey Dennis was born in Colchester in 1958 and graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1980. Solo exhibitions include Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1986), Orchard Gallery, Derry (with an essay by the late Stuart Morgan), and Salvatore Ala Gallery, New York (both 1993), Anderson O'Day Gallery, London (1994) and Art Space Gallery, London (2008). His work is held in collections worldwide, including the Arts Council Collection; the British Council Collection; Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris; The New School Art Collection, New York City; Saatchi Collection, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate, London.

Jeffrey Dennis: Ringbinder is organised by the London-based curator Andrew Hunt. A new publication containing commissioned essays and a full catalogue of the artist’s recent work will be published by NGCA in 2016.

Jeffrey Dennis ‘Ringbinder’ is generously supported by Arts Council England, Sunderland City Council and University of the Arts, London.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
City Library and Arts Centre
Fawcett Street
Tyne and Wear



Alistair Robinson, Programme Director

Kathryn Brame, Marketing Officer


0191 561 1235


0191 561 5950

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.