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Sunderland Art Weekender

1-3 October 2004

A city-wide celebration of contemporary art
The annual Sunderland Art Weekender is now in its fourth year. The weekender is a perfect opportunity for those who live, work, visit or study in Sunderland to explore cultural opportunities on offer across the city. The Sunderland Art Weekender draws in art and culture lovers from the region and beyond and is a great chance for students new to the University of Sunderland to explore the city. This year includes creative activities for families to take part in, artist’s talks and tours, plus a wealth of exhibitions to visit – there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
‘Year Zero’
To 20 Nov 2004

‘Year Zero’ brings together a new generation of painters who draw upon historical imagery and idioms to speak about the present. The artists revitalise the tradition of modern painting that runs through Picasso, Picabia and David Salle, which, in response to the extraordinary proliferation of new images characterising modern visual culture, resignifies the outmoded, forgotten, archaic, or arcane. In contrast to the artistic tradition which attempts to create a pictorial ‘year zero’ and connects Malevich, Stella and Robert Ryman, the artists here plunder the world of images from the past and present to create new narratives about art and its place in the world. As Walter Benjamin argued – “there are revolutionary energies in ‘the outmoded’. ”

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, City Library and Arts Centre, Fawcett Street, Sunderland SR1 1RE. T: 0191 514 1235

Admission free

Luke Caulfield; Lali Chetwynd; Zoe Mendelson; Alan Michael; David Salle; Daniel Sinsel; Markus Vater; Richard Wathen


Image: Markus Vater, from the series ‘At the End of the World’, 2004. Courtesy Vilma Gold, London
+ Click image to enlarge

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
‘The Art of Norman Cornish’
To 28 November 2004

This exhibition marks the 85th birthday of the artist Norman Cornish. Born in Spennymoor, County Durham, in 1919, Cornish used his home town as inspiration for his work. His paintings are a visual record of a mining community over seventy years. The Art of Norman Cornish features a range of works, from portraits of local figures and pub scenes to miners on the pit road.

An exhibition in partnership with Northumbria University

Sunderland Art Weekender - Activity

  • Tour the Norman Cornish Exhibition with Amy Barker, Exhibitions Officer, Tyne and Wear Museums.
  • Create your own Norman Cornish style masterpiece with artist Sharon Wilson. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult
  • Listen to songs of mining work and life with local folk musician Keith Gregson.
  • See mining artist Derek Slater at work in the exhibition.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP.
T: 0191 553 2323 E:

Admission free


Image: Norman Cornish, ‘Edward Street, Man Walking Dogs’
+ Click image to enlarge

The Arts Centre Washington
Mike McHugh: ‘Washington New Town 1964-2004
Preview: Thursday 30th September 7pm - 9pm
Exhibition: 1 - 30 October 2004

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the designation of Washington New Town, the third and last of the region’s new towns after Peterlee and Aycliffe. As part of a series of events running throughout 2004/05 North East photographer Mike McHugh has brought together material from the archives of Washington Town Centre Library and Washington Development Corporation. Previously unseen by the public, these records include photographs, maps, promotional material, publications and detailed plans of the new town spanning from the time of Washington’s construction in the 60s through to 1988 when control of the new town was handed over to the City of Sunderland.

For further information please contact Mike McHugh on telephone:
07963 134674, or email:

Arts Centre Washington, Biddick Lane, Fatfield, Washington Tyne & Wear NE38 8AB. T: 0191 219 3455

Vardy Gallery
A Vardy off-site project: 'The future is empty, easy to convince, and ours.'
Floral graffiti by Maggie Hills and Katrina Moorhead
Artists Talk: Friday 1 October 6.00pm – 8.00pm

As its first off-site project, the Vardy will work within its immediate surroundings of Backhouse Park. Maggie Hills who is the Durham Cathedral Artist in Residence will collaborate with Irish artist Katrina Moorhead on a place-dependent flower-written text commissioned for the grounds of Backhouse Park in Sunderland. This planted and temporary work of living art will be produced in consultation with the Friends of Backhouse Park and Ian Coburn of the Sunderland Environmental Services. This commission will also tie in with Culture 10’s investment in public gardens. The text, to be written in flowers, will be appropriated from a poetic phrase found in the Ashbrooke neighbourhood and through the use of this text the artists aim to reflect something of the thoughts and feelings of those living within the Ashbrooke community; ‘Love is the only thing that can take you to heaven.’

The University of Sunderland has collaborated with Durham Cathedral for the past twenty-one years to host and financially support exhibitions for each Durham Cathedral Artist in Residence. This annual exhibition is one of the highlights of the Vardy Gallery’s calendar.

Maggie Hills, is the 2004 Durham Cathedral Artist in Residence. Maggie’s oeuvre has included a wide range of media over the years and she has spent the majority of her Durham Cathedral residency painting large-scale watercolours on canvas. These often melancholic paintings are made primarily with images enlarged from found picture postcards. In addition to these paintings, Maggie is also working on a video installation for her Vardy Gallery exhibit and an outdoor collaboration with the artist Katrina Moorhead. For a number of years Katrina who is an Irish born artist based in Texas, and Maggie have been searching for an opportunity to combine their aesthetic interests into a public display of flower writing.

Backhouse Park has been a landmark in Sunderland for over a century. It was owned by the Backhouse family and at that time was privy to a number of horticultural experiments, specifically as the seedbed for a unique strain of daffodil. The Friends of Backhouse are now in the process of aggressively developing the park into a safe haven for naturalists and education.

Maggie Hills is the current Durham Cathedral Artist-in-Residence. She makes work that explores themes of human frailty: love, immortality, escapism, nostalgia. Many of her recent landscape paintings, which have the appearance of fragile and faded backdrops, have titles based on found graffiti. Katrina Moorhead is a sculptor currently living in Houston, Texas. Her sculptures and installations reference time/all things ‘precarious’. To date she has used such barely tangible mediums of gravity, air conditioning and the postal service, along with very real objects. She has recently made a series of sculptures using fresh flowers to spell out texts reminiscent of marketing slogans that attempt to claim and sell the moment.

University of Sunderland, School of Arts, Design, Media & Culture, Ashburne House, Ryhope Road, Sunderland, SR2 7EF.
T: 0191 515 2128

National Glass Centre
‘Move As If Breathing’
To 28 October 2004

An intriguing exhibition which makes the viewer question their relationship with the surroundings and their place in it, with works by glass artists, Chiho Hitomi and Katharine Dowson.

National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland. T: 0191 515 5555
Open daily 10am – 5pm
Admission to Glass Centre and Glass Gallery free

Monkwearmouth Station Museum
‘Railway Posters’
To 31 October 2004

‘Railway Posters - Promoting the East Coast route in the 1920s and '30s’, Includes many of the best posters designed during the 1920s and 30s, as well as some outstanding earlier examples – the exhibition is a colourful reminder of the railway posters’ heyday. Renowned for their artistic appeal and commercial effectiveness, these original railway posters were produced by some of the most popular artists of the time including Frank H. Mason, Frank Newbould, Austin Cooper, R.E. Higgins and John Littlejohns to promote travel on the East Coast route.

Martin Routledge, keeper of social history, said:

“This exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to see works by some of Britain’s best artists from the 20s and 30s in the unique format of railway posters. The posters sold the benefits of travelling by train to resorts along the East Coast from London to the Moray Firth including Roker and Seaburn. Visitors will be able to gain an insight into the world of railway advertising as well as having the chance to take part in a programme of exciting activities."

Visitors will be able to take part in a range of events and activities throughout the exhibition.

North Bridge Street, Sunderland SR5 1AP. T: 0191 567 7075

Admission free


Image: Andrew Johnson, ‘On the Drier Side’
+ Click image to enlarge

Blue Velvet Cabaret
presents ‘HULLABALOO’
Saturday 2 October
7.30pm - 1am

A night of eclectic entertainment with music, video and poetry featuring music by SEFELT, HAT and DADAKOPF; plus Straitjacket Comedy; Rant TV; Videos by IF and Anthony Cooke; Keith Armstrong will read from his newly published book 'Imagined Corners'; Milky Wilberforce will read a high energy short stories from BULLET, the only magazine publishing rock'n'roll noir.

The Vestry, Downstairs at Renaissance, Fawcett Street, Sunderland
Contact: Peter McDada 0191 4192690

‘ASSIGN 2’ + selection of prints by Dick Rainer
Preview: Friday 1 October 5.30pm
Exhibition: 1-14 October 2004
For the second year the members of Assign will be displaying a group show of their work. Each piece submitted must fit a tightly specified brief, which states:-

“submit one work only to occupy wall area or volume space approximately at the limited scale of 35cms x 3cm in any one dimension enlarging the possible limiting dimension factor to 50cms.”

Together with the work of the members of Assign there will also be a show of prints by Sunderland based artist, and lead member of Assign, Dick Rainer.

Frederick Street Studios, 52 Back Frederick Street, Sunderland SR1 1NF Telephone: 0191 510 1377 or 0191 587 1866


The Sunniside Bookstore
A new art gallery, non-mainstream bookstore and internet cafe that has recently opened in Norfolk St in the heart of Sunderland’s ‘Cultural’ Quarter’. The bookstore provides space for local artists' work and hosts writers' groups. For more details visit

Opening times: Mon – Sat 10am – 4pm
20 Norfolk Street, Sunderland SR1 1EA
T: 0191 564 0333

For information about Sunderland including travelling to the City, Hotels, parking etc please telephone Sunderland Tourist Information Centre 0191 553 2000 / 2001 / 2002 or go to: