Prolific Manchester artist Ian McKay is showcasing his latest work exploring the demise of British seaside towns at Stockport Art Gallery.
Admission is free to the exhibition, entitled ‘Seaside Town’, which runs until Sunday October 21.
Exploring themes of emptiness and isolation while also responding to the downfall of the traditional British holiday, McKay’s work highlights the demise of once thriving coastal resorts such as Ryhl, Scarborough and Southend-on-Sea.
“There’s something quite magical [about the British seaside],” said McKay.
“It takes you back to your childhood. Straight back to your bucket and spade days, your ice creams and if you’re lucky a tray of chips!”
The Stockport Art Gallery exhibit is inspired by his early career as a signwriter and draws on the typography of existing signage, graffiti and seaside ephemera.
“What influenced me a lot was looking back at old photographs of my own visits to seaside towns with my family and asking other people to let me have a look at theirs,” said McKay.
Traditional scenarios such as ‘battling the elements’ in Morecombe, re-painting the pier in Brighton and meeting the Mods at a scooter rally in Scarborough are captured through a mixture of paint and print-making.
Graduating from Salford University in visual arts, McKay was chosen to exhibit at the Château de Saint-Ouen in Paris as a representative for the City of Salford back in 2005.
A year later he was offered the post of artist in residence at Gorton Monastery where he developed and presented the Visual Arts Project as Lead Artist.
Now based in Salford, McKay splits his time between the city’s MASA Studio while continuing to manage and deliver visual arts projects to communities in the region.
Stockport Council’s executive member for economic development and regeneration, Iain Roberts, added: “This is an interesting exhibition which explores the changing relationship between the public and seaside town as holiday destinations."
Stockport Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday, from 1.00pm to 5.00pm, Saturday 10.00am to 5.00pm, Sunday and Bank Holidays 11.00am to 5.00pm.
For more information contact the gallery on 0161 474 4453 or visit www.stockport.gov.uk/artgalllery