Gallery Oldham has four large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery.
We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.
Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.
In addition we have permanent displays around the building.
Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories
This gallery permanently houses both:
Oldham Stories exhibition, featuring selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and shells to a recreation of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. The display features local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenny, the pioneering natural history collector James Nield and the popular artist Helen Bradley.
We continue to update this permanent exhibition so Oldham Stories will close for two weeks on 13 March for a major refresh. We re-open on 25 March with a new selection of stories and objects.
The Community Gallery, which has a wide range of exhibitions by groups and individuals from the Borough of Oldham.
Gallery 2 – Northern Colours
1 October – 3 December
We are delighted to welcome the Northern Potters Association (NPA) back to Gallery Oldham. This
selected exhibition of work by members of the NPA features a wide range of ceramics and makers.
The chosen theme for this exhibition is colour which will be reflected in the variety of finishes and textures on display.
The NPA is an organisation for those that love pots and pottery. Of the 450 or so members not all are professional potters – there are also enthusiasts, amateur makers and collectors. Most members work or have their roots in the North and are keen to promote quality work in the area that shows the diversity of what artists can achieve in clay.
Gallery Oldham has a regionally important collection of studio pottery on permanent display in our Art of the Potter exhibition. The NPA supports artists in the production of studio pottery in all its forms and many of the works on display will be for sale.
Gallery 3 – Art Forms in Nature
14 October – 7 January
The German photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865 – 1932) was celebrated by the Surrealists and early modernists for his pioneering close-up images of plants and flora. Trained as a sculptor he was also an amateur botanist, fascinated by the underlying structures of nature.
He created his extraordinary catalogue of studies of natural forms as a teaching tool for the benefit or artists, artisans and architects. Blossfeldt used a homemade camera and lens that could magnify a subject by 30 times, to capture the microscopic beauty of his specimens.
This Hayward Touring exhibition consists of 40 photogravures from an original German portfolio, ‘Wundergarten der Natur’ 1932, edited by Blossfeldt and published in the year of his death. This exhibition will include a selection of larger than life plant models from Gallery Oldham’s natural history collection.
Gallery 4 – Watercolours from the Lees Collection
19 November – 15 April
Charles Lees was a key figure in the founding of the original Oldham Library and Art Gallery in 1883.
In 1888 Lees donated an outstanding collection of 80 watercolours to the Gallery. This overview of a century of watercolours includes names such as Turner, Constable, Cozens, Danby and many more.
We show a small selection of the Lees collection each year in Oldham Stories, but it is rare that it is on display in its entirety. Like all watercolours, these paintings are light sensitive, so we limit the amount of time for which they are on display.
Ann Sutton: Off The Grid
17 December – 4 March
Ann Sutton career spans over 50 years. Recently Ann has worked with drawing and movement of the line, often venturing into making three dimensional pieces. Celebrating this new phase in Ann’s work the exhibition has been jointly curated by Gill Hedley, Gallery Oldham and The Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Big Big Camera
21 January – 22 April
The extraordinary ‘Big Big Camera’ has long been in the collections of Gallery Oldham. Over the last two years artist and photographer Ian Beesley has been working to repurpose this industrial relic. This exhibition of new photographs charts his journey to reuse the camera and take it out on the road.
MESH: 3D Printed Sculpture
11 March – 3 June
MESH is the UK’s first national exhibition of three dimensional, printed Fine Art sculpture. The exhibition includes acclaimed exsisting works and newly commissioned sculptures use the latest 3D print technology. MESH showcases work by artists Keith Brown, Annie Cattrell, Bruce Gernand, James Hutchinson, Jon Isherwood and Sumit Sarkar.
Trendspotting: 80 years of gifts from the Contemporary Art Society
29 April – July
Gallery Oldham has been a member of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) since the 1930s. The CAS is a charity which makes regular donations of contemporary art to public museums in the UK. We have received gifts at regular intervals over the last 80 years. This series of donations provides us with a fascinating snapshot of the changing tastes of those in the art world.