Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
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.
We are also working to create a new collection of contemporary art, in partnership with National Glass Centre, with the support of University of Sunderland, Arts Council England, Sunderland City Council and other partners.
Daily: 10.00 - 17.00
The National Glass Centre is fully wheelchair accessible and wheelchairs are available to borrow at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Toilets are based on the first floor and baby and adult changing facilities are available.
The National Glass Centre Car Park is situated to the front of the building and is FREE to all visitors and accessible from Dame Dorothy Street.
NGCA is working to create a new collection of contemporary art, in partnership with National Glass Centre, with the support of University of Sunderland, Arts Council England, Sunderland City Council and other partners.
In 2019, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art will be 50 years old, being the direct descendent of 'Bookshop Gallery' founded in 1969 and its successor Ceolfrith Arts Centre, later Northern Centre for Contemporary Art. Despite the changes in location and name, the gallery's commitment to innovative, experimental art has been a constant.
During its fifty years it has given UK premieres to artists from Sean Scully to Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen, from Sam Taylor-Wood to Spartacus Chetwynd, and given the first UK shows to Cory Arcangel and Harun Farocki, several years before other galleries gave their achievements due recognition.
It is only in its current incarnation that the gallery has been able to acquire works from artists, in order to tell stories about the history of contemporary art, as well as to create 'news'. The exceptional generosity of artists we have worked with over the period has begun a collection of contemporary art for the city of Sunderland that now includes over a hundred works.
The gallery is also working closely with National Glass Centre to ensure that artists interested in working with glass are able to realise ambitious art in new ways, working with world leading makers based in the University of Sunderland.
Architecture, Design, Fine Art, Photography, Film and Media
Dan Holdsworth: Continuous Topography
- 26 October 2018 — 6 January 2019
Since 1996, the English artist-photographer Dan Holdsworth has explored the “extreme” territories that characterize humans’ changing relationship to the ‘natural’ world in the Anthropocene. Since 2012, the artist has worked alongside academic geologists to map the exact contours of Alpine glaciers and rock formations, by using drones, lasers, photography, and high-end software ordinarily employed by the military and climate scientists. The result is the series Continuous Topography, consisting of images created from millions of points marked in space, each a millimetre-perfect registration of the precise contours of a rapidly changing landscape. This landscape is the Argientière glacier in the Alps. Indeed between the recording of the landscape, and its presentation as artworks made to be conserved in perpetuity, the landscape has already begun to change beyond recognition.
Continuous Topography creates an image of what Holdsworth calls a “future archaeology”. What we encounter are not only three-dimensional maps of places characterised by extraordinary natural beauty, but historical records: records that document the very shape of the world that we have to lose. The works are entirely new kinds of landscape imagery, which invite us to imaginatively inhabit what initially appears to be an almost entirely abstract and immaterial, indeed spectral virtual space. Encountering these works is to see Europe’s most sublime landscapes – Alpine mountain ranges that artists have worked to picture since the Romantics – in an entirely new way. These are works that have been painstakingly constructed from data that the artist has personally gathered through weeks and months of fieldwork traversing the Alps.
The exhibition reveals the first moving-image works the artist has created, after working for 20 years with large-format analogue cameras. It focuses on a sequence of large-scale digital animations that are both maps and composite photographs. Each is projected at a monumental scale, enveloping us into a new type of space. In each, we travel on a ‘flythrough’ around and even into an Alpine landscape. Each offers a sublime superabundance of visual information: a virtual sublime, we might say, beyond the capacity of the human eye to process. These works offer a kind of hallucinatory realism that the pre-Raphaelites could only dream of, in the campaign to create an art characterised by its truth-to-nature, and a fidelity to recording the organic world in its every detail. What is startlingly new here is the degree of precision that the process of ‘photogrammetry’ offers. The astonishing quantity of detail that we are confronted with allows the artists to transform raw ‘data’ into a new type of poetry. Each pixel has the colour of the ‘real’ snow, ice or stone in the landscape, making these works a new, strange type of image.
- Any age
Kelly Richardson: Pillars of Dawn
- 29 March — 26 May 2019
Artist Kelly Richardson has spent three years imagining a world at one remove from our own, working with digital imaging software to create a vision of the near future. In each of her works, we encounter millions of glistening crystals that have somehow encrusted every square inch of the planet’s surface. The artist pushes the limits of what our eyes can register, the mind can conceive of, and the most high-tech computers can calculate. Each crystal has been ‘sculpted’ in three dimensions, so that in each work, there is one crystal for every extant species on Earth. ‘Pillars of Dawn’ presents us with what seems to be the dusk of humanity ̶ the sixth great extinction ̶ where only the hardiest of trees seem to survive. These are akin to photographs outside of time: from either the Earth’s earliest days or humanity’s final hour, acting as documents of nuclear conflagration or environmental depredation.
The artist reveals the body of work across three exhibitions at opposite ends of the country. The third is presented in what The Guardian calls “the best surviving example of English baroque architecture”: Sir John Vanbrugh’s Seaton Delaval Hall. Partially destroyed by fire in 1822, and acquired by the National Trust in 2009, the central block is roofed but left bare as a half-ruin. In the breathtaking Saloon, some fifty feet wide and sixty feet high, Richardson presents a vision of what our collective future may yet hold.
- Any age
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
at National Glass Centre
Tyne and Wear