BLANKSPACE is an art gallery at the dead end of Hulme Street, five minutes walk from Oxford Road:

The old ‘Moonfish’ building stands in the lee of the Parkway (A5103), close to the Mancunian Way.

This place was a fine art students’ stamping ground for many years because Manchester Polytechnic’s ‘Medlock Fine Art Centre’ once lay just across the road from BLANKSPACE, on a plot now occupied by New Medlock House (student flats):

The photograph below, from 1968, shows the warehouse and offices (on the right between the church and the motorway) which became Medlock Fine Art Centre around 1973.

This was supposed to be a temporary home for Manchester Polytechnic’s Fine Art Department, but it was used for over twenty years… until the painters, sculptors and printmakers were moved to Grosvenor Building next to All Saints Park.

Blank Media Collective has renewed this area’s Fine Art connection by establishing BLANKSPACE here in 2010. The collective, founded in 2006, provides support for emerging artists, writers, musicians and performers through the shared use of their premises, website and on-line publication Blankpages.

Blank Media Collective’s first Arts Council England funded exhibition is Inside:

Inside aims to explore:

“the psychological connections we form with our environment, placing the participant within a collection of works that disturb, envelop, and engage. All the works featured in this exhibition are united by themes of absence, loss, memory, fantasy and nostalgia, sparking the imagination and placing the participant both physically and mentally within the viewing space.”

The artists showcased through the Inside exhibition are Claudia Borgna, Philip Cheater, Drop Collective, Gill Greenhough, Rosie Leventon, David Ogle, Emily Rubner, Liz West and Chris Wright.

Drop Collective, whose preview invite caught my attention, are Blair Zaye, Anna Louise Hale, Adam Dahrouge and Alison Thomson. They are London-based and formed in October 2011 to work together on immersive installations; this is their first show outside London and the ‘man in the bath’ was inspired by squat art, urban exploration and the converted warehouses in Seven Sisters where they live and work.

So like russian dolls we have: Hulme Street; BLANKSPACE; Blank Media Collective; the Inside exhibition; exhibitors including Drop Collective. If you like order you may appreciate the overview.

If, however, you take an instinctive approach, you may prefer to be drawn in by a trail of images…

…just as fine artists, graffiti artists and vagrants across the years have felt the pull of Hulme Street’s desolation, traffic hum, solvent fumes and the promise of an uncertain future…

The preview event on March 29th, 6-9pm, is open to the public.