Machine sculptures set for The Harley Gallery

27 September 2019

Machine sculptures set for The Harley Gallery

An exhibition of sculptures brought to life with cogs, cams, cranks and levers is to open at The Harley Gallery on 5 October.

The Moving Stories exhibition has been designed to appeal to all ages with a triple-bill of exhibitions. All three exhibition spaces within the gallery will be filled with automata. The displays range from sculptures of swaying trees in the Courtyard to miniature bike riding skeletons within the gallery.

The main auditorium in the gallery will include the Little Machines exhibition by Huddersfield artist engineer Martin Smith. Visitors will be able to see his colourful, witty and beautifully engineered automata that interact with their viewers. They include wind-driven swaying trees to tiny beating hearts and hand-held machines.

His sculptures are exhibited and collected worldwide. Clients have included English opera company, Opera North, and actress Carrie Fisher as well as Nottingham-based designer, Paul Smith.

Gallery Manager, Susan Sherrit, said: “The Harley Gallery has worked with Martin Smith for almost 20 years and we are thrilled to be able to host his exhibition here from next month. We first commissioned Martin to make The Applause Machine in 2001 which stood at the Gallery entrance welcoming visitors in with appreciation. This hands-on exhibition invites visitors to interact, turn a handle or wave a hand to bring works to life and we’re expecting it to be really popular with families.”

Ghost Horses and Guns, an exhibition by artist Melanie Tomlinson, will be in Gallery One and will include three-dimensional sculptures, some with moving parts. The exhibition comes from Melanie’s fascination in the forgotten spaces between urban and rural landscapes. She sees them as overgrown, full of life and somehow magical corridors, and a metaphor for transformation changing identities, memory and experience.

Melanie’s exhibition was curated in collaboration with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and supported by The Arts Council England. It features nine new pieces created especially for the show, alongside short stories that merge childhood memories and real-life events to reflect universal themes such as nature, destruction, transformation and hope.

The Tiny Movements exhibition in Gallery Two will feature one-inch miniature automata, each powered by the pull of almost invisible wire or a tiny crank. They have been created by Laurence and Angela St Leger, who are well known for their miniature automata and have made a series of specially commissioned framed pieces for display at The Harley Gallery. These include skeletons, strong men, flapping seagulls, dancers, merry-go-rounds, and swimming tadpoles.

Martin Smith will be leading a walk and talk tour of his exhibition on Friday 25 October at 12 noon. The talk is free of charge but places are limited. Spaces can be booked by calling The Harley Gallery on 01909 501 700.

  • The Moving Stories exhibition will run between 5 October and 5 January and some of the pieces exhibited will be available for sale. The Harley Gallery is open daily between 10am and 5pm. Entry is free and there’s free parking. For more details check out The Harley Gallery website.