Emily Allchurch uses photography to recreate old master paintings and prints, creating contemporary narratives. Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign with The Art Fund, we have commissioned her to make a new work for Manchester Art Gallery based on the painting Albert Square, Manchester, 1910 by French Impressionist Adolphe Valette. This will be the centrepiece of her exhibition, which is her first UK solo show in a public museum. Valette, who lived and worked in Manchester for many years, painted atmospheric views of the city, which are a favourite with residents and visitors alike. His works capture the essence of Manchester at the turn of the 20th century. Allchurch's updated re-creation of Valette's Edwardian cityscape will reveal Manchester as the 21st Century city it is today, resonant with echoes of its historic past.
The exhibition will also showcase Allchurch's celebrated Tokyo Story andTokaido Road series, which pay homage to the 19th century Japanese printmaker Utagawa Hiroshige. Diplayed as lightboxes, her works reveal not only changes to the topography but also to Japanese society and customs. They will be shown alongside a selection of Manchester Art Gallery's collection of exquisite but rarely seen original Hiroshige woodblock prints and some on loan from our partner, Whitworth Art Gallery.
Allchurch's works are seamless digital collages, using hundreds of photographs, taken in urban environments today. The complex photographic images have a resonance with place, history and culture and deal with the passage of time and the changes to a landscape, fusing contemporary life with a sense of history.