Contemporary art exhibition takes inspiration from heritage collections

An art exhibition inspired by the University’s heritage collections and the personal memories of artist, Emma Gregory, has opened at the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum.

The concept for the exhibition, `Semi-Permanent Collections’, which includes prints, drawings and mixed media pieces, developed over three years ago when Emma Gregory spent time drawing in the University’s heritage store.

During this period the artist’s father became very ill and died, and the project took a more personal direction.

Heritage collections

The show features objects from the University’s art and heritage collections including a quirky three legged teapot, which is on display and features in two of the prints on display.


The artist’s background and expertise in print making is clear, with many works in the exhibition produced usinga variety of printing techniques including soft ground etching, mono printing and screen printing. , Emma has also printed onto personal items including her Grandmother’s china and her Aunt’s designer jacket.

Family collections

Other items from the artists’ family collections have been incorporated into the show – including silk and woollen damasks collected during Emma’s time as an upholsterer, postcards and letterpress blocks which belonged to the artist’s grandmother, and who had taught her how to print.

Her Grandmother’s button collection has been used to create a portrait of the artist’s daughter, who always enjoyed exploring the button box.


Kirsty Hall, Acting Head of Department said: “This exhibition explores the idea of loss and preservation, collections and memories and the transient nature of existence at both a personal level in relation to family and in terms of the zoological specimens.”

Artist Emma Gregory said: “Semi-Permanent Collections’ considers the things that you can keep and the things that you can’t keep. It was influenced by the loss of people very close to me, whilst I was drawing items from the heritage collections which are dead items preserved in liquid.

“My work starts with an item, idea, or inspiration and then I experiment further by adding another layer of meaning that I hadn’t thought of. I would encourage visitors who come to see the exhibition to think about something they have kept at home, and why they have kept it.”

Emma Gregory studied drawing and printmaking at Sir John Cass, Central School of Art and UCLan. Between 2003 and 2013 she taught printmaking in Liverpool and re-established the Bluecoat’s print studios.

She continues to teach across the North West although she now lives in Bristol, where she is developing projects with Spike Print Studios and Bath Artist Printmakers.


You can watch Emma Gregory talk about the exhibition whilst it was being installed:

Further information about the exhibition is available at Emma Gregory’s blog which gives an insight into the items on display and the preparation for the show.

Emma encourages interaction through her blog pages and facebook page, Instagram and twitter account.

The exhibition runs until Saturday 2 April 2016, Tuesdays – Saturdays, in Gallery 5, on the first floor of the Victoria Gallery & Museum.

Emma Gregoryvgm_w_h


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