to Nov 22

Beth Atkinson, 'We are a Garden Walled Around', Le Loovre

Beth Atkinson

We Are A Garden Walled Around

Surface Gallery


Private View - Friday 14th November, 18.00-20.00

Exhibition continues 15th - 22nd November 2014


This month Surface Gallery hosts award-winning photographer Beth Atkinson, presenting a collection of new work, research and experiments exploring repetition, religion and song, in 'We are a garden walled around'.


In 2013, Beth won first prize in our Contemporary Photography Now open exhibition, and has this year been invited to return to Surface with new ideas;


“Paradise is a walled enclosure; a home and refuge. There’s no time, just an endless loop of repeating songs, words and actions. Is meaning lost the more it is repeated or is it made stronger?”


In her practice Beth explores what Paul Auster calls ‘rhyming’ in the world. Through connections in the landscape, people, in stories and in song we find looping, repeating and rhyming with each other. These narrative structures are self-contained, self-serving and closed off; myths and stories are presented as facts. What results is an excess; an over production of meaning. Although Beth works primarily with large format photography, her recent work has integrated field recordings of folk song, writing and video.


She has exhibited internationally, including shows across the UK, Ireland, Russia, Canada and the USA, with prizes and commissions include the Villiers David Award, the Flint House Commission and a recent project with Art on the Underground. We welcome her back to Surface and Nottingham in her solo show this November;


'We are a garden walled around' will run in conjunction with the Bob Robinson Exhibition, which is currently on show in the Project Space, along with artist Chiara Dellerba exhibiting in our alternative space, Le Loovre. As always, there will be a donations bar, with ales provided by local brewery, Springhead.


16, Southwell Road, Nottingham, NG1 1DL

Free entry, everyone welcome!


Exhibition Opening Hours:

Opening night: 6.00pm to 8.00pm November 14th

Tuesday to Friday: 12.00pm to 6.00pm

Saturday: 11.00am to 5.00pm


For more information, please contact exhibition co-ordinators Meg Bonser and Megan Lynch at or visit


Notes to the editor

Beth Atkinson received her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in 2013. She has exhibited internationally, including shows across the UK, Ireland, Russia, Canada and the USA. Prizes and commissions include the Villiers David Award, the Flint House Commission and a recent project with Art on the Underground.

“Paradise is a walled enclosure; a home and refuge. There’s no time, just an endless loop of repeating songs, words and actions. Is meaning lost the more it is repeated or is it made stronger?” Through connections in the landscape, people, in stories and in song we find looping, repeating and rhyming with each other. Beth works primarily with large format photography with integrated field recordings of folk song, writing and video.

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to Oct 4

EKS’VEE: NTU MA Photography Degree Show

(XV – Phonetically Spelt)

Eks’Vee is an eclectic group of artists whom, through their explorations are mastering their mediums. The exhibition presents the journey, which has been undertaken by each artist and also as a collaborative group. Surface Gallery hosts this collaborative group of artist as they proceed into their professional practices, extending beyond their academic pursuits.

The group of fifteen Nottingham Trent University Masters students are practicing within the Photographic field. Encompassing portraiture to pictorialism and contemporary dialogues to traditional conversations. The two-week exhibition invites the public to engage not only with the work but also with the contributing artists, with a series of community talks.

Surface Gallery 19th September – 3rd October 2014
Private View 19th September 2014 18:00 – 20:00

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to Aug 30

Wealth in Dump

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Our Nigerian studio resident, Olalekan Falade, will be exhibiting his most recent paintings in his first solo exhibition in Le Loovre. The exhibition entitled Wealth in Dump will present works on the theme of international relations, "We used to be number one... now we are the last. Authority stealing is the order of the day. We all need to stand firm and fight this corruption".

Falade's work will be on show for the duration of the Caribbean Open, 15-30th August, in our first floor bathroom.


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to Aug 30

Caribbean Open: Explore and Embrace Caribbean Culture

Flyer designed by Chiara Dellerba

Flyer designed by Chiara Dellerba

Caribbean Open: Explore and Embrace Caribbean Culture
16th—30th August 2014
Launch Party: Friday 15th August, 18.00-21.00

Rastarella of Cultural Vibrations presents Surface Gallery’s inaugural Caribbean Open.

The exhibition will coincide with the Nottingham Caribbean Carnival, taking place across the city on Sunday 17th August. Surface Gallery will provide a platform to celebrate different kinds of creative and cultural expression, bringing the local community together with Caribbean music, art and food.

The Caribbean Open will facilitate dialogue about race, heritage and immigration, and the idea of the Caribbean in our collective cultural consciousness. Mimm Collective are once again showcasing their creative talent, and are kindly donating several original Jamaican artworks for display alongside the other submissions.

The launch party is a free event, happening on Friday 15th August, 6pm until 9pm, at Surface Gallery. Alongside the artworks and occasional prize winner announcement, there will be:

  • Live music from DJ Kevin Roach of Kemet Radio
  • BBQ by Uncle Wayne’s Jerk Station
  • Market stall by Royal Natty
  • Homemade rum punch by Surface Gallery
  • Seasonal beer on draft by Springhead Brewery

Surface Gallery is also hosting Notts Property 3; Nottingham’s largest ever graffiti mural, which will be unveiled at the launch party. Over twenty-five street artists have come together to respond to the Caribbean theme. Some artists have added a tropical twist to their colour palette, while others use popular cultural references including Pirates of the Caribbean, or traditional folk tales like the Anansi stories.


Local illustrator, Street Art Open 2014 winner, and former Team GB Speed Skater Ian Upcott has been commissioned to create a commemorative artwork for the Caribbean Open. The commission has been successfully crowd-funded using Kickstarter, and will be proudly displayed as part of the exhibition.

Le Loovre, Surface Gallery’s alternative artspace, will this time house paintings by Nigerian artist and studio resident, Olalekan Falade. This exhibition will run parallel to the Caribbean Open, and is located on the first floor of the building.

There will also be a Caribbean Market taking place at Surface Gallery on Saturday 23rd August. Details of stall holders and drop-in workshops yet to be confirmed.

Free entry, No booking, Everyone welcome, One Love

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Black Box Festival
to Jun 6

Black Box Festival

Surface Gallery will soon showcase the final-year work of photography students Alexandra Dowlen, Samantha Lomas, Jonathan Stallard, and Nicholas Willis. The BlackBox Festival, the 18th NTU photography festival, will see work that explores the ways artists react to their environment.

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Street Art Open
to May 17

Street Art Open

Graffiti / Alternative / Illustration / Paste‐Up / Graphics / Yarn bombing / Sticker tagging / Print / Etc. 
The Street Art Open celebrates and supports Nottingham’s thriving alternative art scene by showcasing some of today’s best local, national and international street art. 

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to May 17

Le Loovre: Interior Insecurity Inside

Thoughts of you, vague feelings of nostalgia, unplaced and untouched, a heart carved on a tree in some lonely wood, a message born out of frustration scrawled on a wall, a plastic jewel in a plastic crown, fireworks at midnight, salt on my lips, a carnival mask, glass tears, a daughter’s blue lips, a young girls poem written on her grave, an overdose of pink pills, a drop of blood, a heart shaped tattoo, a thorn in a woman’s breast, red finger nails, a dolls head covered in lipstick lying in the gutter, a hospital ward for the mentally ill, a woman hanging in the toilets, a daughter lying on the kitchen floor, a young girl in a body bag being carried down the stairs, a small pink penknife, a flash of light, a windup metal toy, the diary of Frida Kahlo, Santa Lucia, the moon, dark trees silhouetted against the sky, a figure at the window, a naked body in a hotel room, a female wrestler, a lesbian, a prostitute, a paper thin skull crumbling against the wall, a black sun, a staircase, a locked door, a broken window, cigarettes, cigarettes, and more cigarettes, I need my life, smudged mascara, smudged lipstick, a heart the size of a fist, beautiful losers, rapture, Joan of Arc, sad eyed lady of the lowlands, 1hour 27 minutes, the last broken heart of the un-forgiven… no style, no grace, no intellectual explanations… just vague feelings of nostalgia, unplaced and untouched, and death dancing alone through empty streets.

Feeling increasingly alienated from mainstream art I define my work in opposition to it, exploring alternatives such as, underground psychedelic art, non-Western and Fetish Art, the art of children and of the mentally ill. Dubuffet referred to this kind of work as art brut and stated:

These artists derive everything – subjects, choices of materials, etc – from their own depths, and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art. We are witness here to a completely pure artistic operation, raw, brut and entirely reinvented in all of its phases solely by means of the artists’ own impulses. 

The paintings in this exhibition examine a range of political and cultural issues within a pseudo religious framework. Embellishing these pictures with artifacts, jewels, stickers and decals to suggest the reverential fetishism of religious iconography, I analyse fairy tales, poems, and myths that are part of the tormented psyche of our childhood. Engaging in subjects as diverse as Mexican Votive Painting and early Christian Coptic Art, the Poetic Imagery of Federico Garcia Lorca and Carol Ann Duffy, Honour Killings especially the stoning of Doa and 1930’s Crime Photos my work reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new iconic pieces.
These themes are combined into an installation that features several groups of paintings, alongside, various religious and childhood objects and embellished with discarded texts, which provide clues to content and interpretation.


Peter Lumley

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to Apr 12

Emerge: Volunteer Show 2014

Emerge 1 text edited.jpg

Surface Gallery is proud to be presenting ‘Emerge’, this year’s annual volunteer exhibition. The title of this exhibition ‘Emerge’ has been chosen to reflect the celebration of;

·        the achievement of our volunteers (who will ‘Emerge’ from the basement office)

·       the potential development of Sneinton Market (who will ‘Emerge’ as our creative neighbours)

Surface Gallery has been in existence in this neighbourhood for some time now. It is an independent arts organisation, run entirely as a co-operative by a team of volunteers. Since its foundation in 1999, the gallery has supported and provided opportunities to early and mid-career artists, curators and people wishing to work in the arts or voluntary sector. Over the years it has gradually been making progress to its facilities and services with the help of its loyal volunteers. ‘Emerge’ will therefore showcase the diversity of the Surface volunteers who help to make the professional exhibitions successful.

The Surface volunteers are a group of individuals who are united in the work they do although many have different backgrounds, ages and nationality. They dedicate their time to the gallery, learning new skills along the way and gain benefit from their experience. The tasks they engage in include curating, invigilating exhibitions, technical support, administration, PR and marketing duties.

We recognise the positive news about the significant step forward of the rejuvenation of Sneinton Market. Last year Nottingham City Council secured a grant of £2.4 m to help regenerate the market, which is situated opposite Surface Gallery. The sites development will invigorate the Creative Quarter, and the gallery will observe this transformation of the neighbourhood. We would like to take this show ‘Emerge’ as an opportunity to celebrate and anticipate the bright future of the area.

This exhibition will also invite the community to participate in various workshops that will be delivered by the volunteers. Sales of works are also planned.


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5:00 PM17:00

NTU Festival 2014

NTU Festival 2014: The Collective Individual

26th February - 15th March 2014

For the third year running, Nottingham Trent University and Surface Gallery are working together to present a unique opportunity for Fine Art students from the University’s renowned School of Art & Design to gain professional experience as artists. The Collective Individual will see three groups of NTU Fine Art students using a critical or reflective approach to curate group exhibitions in response to the festival’s title, each interpreting and working around the concepts of collectivism and the individual in contemporary art practice.

Working with Surface Gallery, the selected students will stage and present their work in an professional contemporary art gallery environment, giving them the skills and confidence necessary to continue working as artists after university. This is an exciting time in the gallery, with Surface Gallery volunteers working side-by-side with the students in a rapid succession of experimental exhibitions presenting work that ranges from performance and video installation to sculpture, and much more in between.

The exhibitions in this year’s festival programme are:

Send in the Clowns - Billy Craigan, Ciarán Harrington & Joseph Rowley

You’re All Tork - Eleanor Coleman, Lucy Hodgkiss, Emma Lloyd & Ruth Williamson

Cretin Hop - John Fuller, Sam Hewland & Jake Kent

Send in the Clowns

Exhibition Opening: Tuesday 25th February, 6 - 8pm. All welcome.

Exhibition runs from 26th February - 1st March

Send in the Clowns is an investigation of the ultimate collective individual; the actor. An actor exists as a culmination of every character they have ever played. They are by very definition a collective individual. Send in the Clowns re-evaluates the definition of the word actor. The term actor describes each individual element of the show, performer, stage, and audience. Each actor is restricted by their role, and they must perform in collaboration and response to one another.

Every day of the exhibition will present a new act in the play, moving the narrative forward and testing the skill of the actors. Each day comes with its own set of performances and props allowing the show to take on a new role.

Act 1: Welcome to Pleasure Beach

Act 2: Match Day

Act 3: Later that Day…

Act 4: Send in the Clowns

Special Late Night Opening: To coincide with the Light Night events at Sneinton Market and across Nottingham, Send in the Clowns will be open from 12 - 9pm on Friday 28th February.

You’re All Tork

Exhibition Opening: Tuesday 4th March, 6 - 8pm. All welcome.

Exhibition runs from 5th - 8th March

Curated by Eleanor Coleman, Lucy Hodgkiss, Emma Lloyd and Ruth Williamson, You’re All Tork plays with ideas of small talk, mutual exchange and the use of language. The four artists have been collaborating for two years, establishing a strong connection with performance and developing a playful style that embraces slapstick, spontaneity and failure. Their latest collaboration sees the group extend performative gesture into the gallery exhibition space, exploring everyday dialogue within a group through the medium of video.

At the opening event on Tuesday 4th March there will be an opportunity for the audience to witness live performance that merges with the mediated image.

Cretin Hop

Exhibition Opening: Tuesday 11th March, 6 - 8pm. All welcome.

Exhibition runs from 11th - 15th March

Cretin Hop explores the dichotomy between mass markets and the handcrafted artisan object, and the relationship between dominant culture and subcultures. In the increasingly neoliberal dominant culture, collective identities are constantly being dismissed as outdated and oppressive. Cretin Hop seeks to explore the ways that individuals and groups establish an identity in their relationship to the world. John Fuller, Sam Hewland & Jake Kent have varied artistic practices but share common ground in their heavy preoccupation with sculpture. In the lead up to Cretin Hop they have been working closely together to develop works and co-curate the last installment of The Collective Individual.

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to Feb 8

International Postcard Show

The International Postcard Show 2014

15th January – 8th February

Exhibition Opening: 14th January, 6-8pm.


Surface Gallery is delighted to present our first exhibition of 2014, the International Postcard Show. This exciting exhibition is a highly popular annual event at Surface Gallery, with all submissions accepted. It will feature hundreds of original creations in a wide range of media by established artists, students and newcomers from all over the world.


During the exhibition postcards will be priced at £15, so this is a fantastic opportunity to snap up an original work of art at an affordable price.


The Artists exhibiting this year are:

Gareth Abraham, Robert Adams, Ben Arrowsuch, Christopher Bagnall, Jean Yves Bastrilles, Lauren Beet, Faye Bentley, Christopher Boote, Debbie Boote, Ree Braithwaite, Katie Violet Broder, Jonathan Brooks, Paul Cairns, Sam Carter, Hannah Cawthorne, Pilar Chamorro-Pascual, David James Clark, Marcus Clarke, Mike Clements, James Connolly, Daniel Cowlishaw, Rebecca Dawson, Linda Dearden, Chiara Dellerba, Lizzie Denton, Sarah Durham, Sumiko Eadon, Ieuan Edwards, Jean Edwards, Kat Lanssa Elwell, Steve Evans, Julie Fowkes, Rosie Fraser-Dickson, Andrea Freeman, Thomasina Freeman, Roger Fuller, Get Involved 17, Ruben Gomez Masip, Sue Gough, Anna Green, Mark Green, Geraldine Greenwood, Carole Gregson, Anne Guest, Diane Hall, Mary Hayes, Linda Hemmersbach, Paul Henegan, Gerry Henegan-Barr, Peter Hillier, Mark Hornett, Shanye Huang, Kayt Hughes, Andy Hulland, Sarah Hutchinson Burke, Holly James, Aline Jeanbourquin-Stolzer, Sallyanne Johnson, Gaganpreet Gill Kaur, Jenny Keuter, Jane King-Spooner, Jochen Klein, Kate Florence Knowlden, Ann Kopka, James Kowacz, Anneliese Krueger, Kevina Labonne, Gabrielle Lam, Naomi Levey, Gaynor Lewis, Chris Lewis-Jones, Vanessa Long, Stephanie Markides, Katrina Mayo, Nicki McNaney, Nicholas Middleton, David Mienczakowski, Nadia Ming, Lisa Mitchell, Emma Moody-Smith, Moofi, Wayne Moraghan, Julie Newton, Jeff Nicholson, Chloe Rose O’Conner, Lucy Orbell, Shirley Anne Owen, Victoria Paper Art, Alice Peillon, Josephine Porter, Orinta Pranaityte, Andrew Prime, Ruth Rawson, Ellen Rayns, Sadie Rees Hales, Luke Routledge, Antonietta Sacco, Kadie Schmidt-Hackenberg, Hannah Sheargold, Ricardo Sleiman, Lynne Smith, Reece Straw, Karen Thomas, Nicole Thornton, Sophie Tibbitts, Lorraine Tolmie, Lizz Tuckerman, Gill Turner, Mik Underwood, Ian Upcott, Lara Valenti, Troy Edric Vanderlinde, Martin Wagstaff, Stewart Wall, Linda Wallis, Alan Wallis, Helen Walsh, Jane White, Paul Whydall, Elaine Winter, Victoria Winwood, Jave Yoshimoto, Eleanor Sarah Young.


Postcards are for sale at £15 each – available works will be marked with a small green sticker underneath the postcard. Please ask a gallery assistant for more information

Surface Gallery, 16 Southwell Rd, Nottingham, NG1 1DL |


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