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Tram Station at St Peters Square
By Mike Sadler
OK - so it's not your normal painting of Victorian Manchester. Some might say it’s like looking through the face of one of Dali’s melting clocks. But are we witnessing the emergence of a vibrant new arts scene in Manchester?
After Liam Spencer's success with his impressionist paintings of Manchester, Michael Gutteridge is now exhibiting his own uniquely wobbly views of the city at the Portico Gallery on Mosley Street.
His distorted interpretations of St Peter's Library, Exchange Square, the Peveril of the Peak pub and other Manchester cityscapes have been largely well received and the former council worker is revelling in his new-found fame.
Artist Michael Gutteridge
Michael Gutteridge has only been painting ‘seriously’ since 2001. Ill health, redundancy and the search for a new career led to his work being displayed, almost by accident, at an exhibition in Stockport.
It’s called ‘Surreal City’. Mike Sadler’s been quizzing him about his highly individual Mancunian views.
Q: Why is Manchester a buzzing city to paint?
A: For me, it was a hobby first of all. I started painting street cityscapes around Manchester then there was an exhibition at Stockport Art Gallery. Surprisingly, they sent me a letter offering me an exhibition of 20 paintings. I had about two months to frantically produce them and take photos. Anyway, they liked them and offered me a full exhibition the following year.
Where does your inspiration come from?
What I used to do was copy famous paintings - say Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ or Munch’s ‘The Scream. That way you get to learn a lot about composition and painting colours and uses of techniques. If you ever went to art academy, you’d probably have to study them. The best way is to jump in at the deep end and work with them and copy them. Over the years it’s kind of accumulated at a subconscious level.
What’s been the public's reaction?
Generally very good. Everybody who’s spoken to me has been enthusiastic. One of the most pleasing things has been that lots of people, after seeing a work, have said that they have been affected.
Peveril of the Peak
Are you an 'impressionist?'
I suppose you could say I was vaguely impressionistic. But I can never decide which title to give it! There’s even elements of cartoon in some of my pieces and bits of Lowry. Then again, I can be a bit of a perfectionist and photo-realist. I just paint scenes of Manchester ‘from an internal eye’ if you like.
Do the 'experts' like you?
It's been pretty positive so far. But, then again, I don’t suppose I’ve had a review from a seriously big name art critic.
Have you sold anything and if so, how much?
Yeah. Eight paintings sold on the opening night but hopefully there’ll be a few more by the end of the exhibition. Some early works went for around £500 but the later stuff has been going for around £1,000.
last updated: 29/05/2008 at 15:18
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