Give a home to ‘Host’ by Hilary Jack

Posted on 1 December 2016

Following on from 2015’s inaugural Spinningfields art commission, Castlefield Gallery is delighted to have worked again with Allied London to produce and curate Host by artist Hilary Jack. Situated in the public realm, this year’s commission comprises of nine discreet bronze sculptures of hybrid wild plants, which typically grow in forgotten urban places, which emerge from the interiors and exteriors of buildings across Spinningfields.

The 2016 Spinningfields art commission also supports the work of the Manchester Homelessness Charter with works being gifted to carefully selected recipients in return for a donation being pledged to the Manchester Homelessness Partnership.

Money raised from all donations will go towards funding a paid traineeship for a person who has experienced homelessness that will enable them to work on the delivery of the Manchester Homelessness Charter.

By using bronze, the traditional material of imposing public sculpture to create a series of fragile, natural forms, artist Hilary Jack has created a though-provoking counterpoint to the built environment, that addresses questions of hospitality and habitat.

The works were due to go to their new homes in February 2017, but due to public demand they will stay in place to March 19th, with audiences being invited to locate the sculptures across Spinningfields, and search the hashtags #SpinArt2016 and #MCRHomelessnessCharter to find out more about the work of the Charter, and to discover hidden stories of Manchester’s development as a city and community.

Hilary Jack, based at Rogue Artists Studio in Manchester, has worked across the UK and internationally with public and private art galleries, and on large-scale public realm commissions with The National Trust, local governments, art festivals, Arts Council England, and private organisations.

Hilary’s work has an activist element, highlighting overlooked aspects of everyday life, the politics of location, often involving the use of found objects in site referential artworks, sculptural installations and public interventions.

Allied London Chief Executive Michael Ingall said of the project; “Hilary Jack’s response to our brief was both thought provoking and reflective and her proposal really connected the estate to an issue we feel passionately about. It’s not a piece of art that is immediate but something you might notice when walking through Spinningfields that will make you stop for closer inspection next time you pass it. Following its installation, the money raised will be donated to the Big Change fund, which brings the artwork full circle and continues Allied London’s work with this life-changing initiative.”

On the concept of Host, Hilary explains; “Host is a series of bronze casts of wild plants installed into the foyers of private buildings and exterior spaces around Spinningfields. The plants I’ve chosen to cast in bronze are the type commonly seen to grow wild from the fabric of neglected buildings and on wasteland in urban centres. The work highlights overlooked aspects of urban life, while referencing the politics of location and the contrast between public and private space.”

Host has been produced by Castlefield Gallery. Its  [former] Director Kwong Lee said; “Castlefield Gallery is really pleased to be working with Allied London again as producer and curator of Spinningfields Art Commission 2016. Hilary Jack’s new painted bronze plants for the area are poignant, witty and timely interventions into the built environment. Much like her previous work, Host will intrigue viewers and encourage dialogue on our relationship with the rest of nature.”

Councillor Beth Knowles, Manchester City Council; said; “I’m pleased to see the power of the arts utilised through Host to reveal some of the stories behind Manchester’s development as a city and community. It’s vital that every part of the city sees and hears all of Manchester’s residents, and it’s fantastic to see Allied London, Castlefield Gallery and the Manchester Homelessness Partnership working together to achieve this through this exciting new public art commission.”

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Image courtesy Stephen Iles