Central Art Gallery



Central Art Gallery hosts a varied temporary exhibition programme, you can find out more about the individual exhibitions on this page either by clicking on the titles below or scrolling further down on the page.

Icons- An Exhibition of paintings by Stanley Lench

20 January – 07 April 2018

World Through My LensThe extraordinary paintings of Stanley Lench are to be displayed at Ashton’s Central Art Gallery. Bold portraits of famous cultural icons reveal the artist’s talent for capturing star-studded personalities while also revealing the complex workings of a mind beset by mental illness.
Stanley Lench’s paintings mainly depict stars of stage and cinema. He worked with oil paints, gouache, inks and crayons to produce bright, kaleidoscopic compositions. His portraits are powerful statements that explore the often frail vanity of the rich and famous.
Stanley Lench was born in 1934 in Peckham, South London. His childhood was dogged by illness which resulted in much of his education, including his art, being self-taught.
In the 1950s he held exhibitions at the Beaux Art Gallery in London’s West End which were a critical and commercial success. Dame Edith Sitwell purchased three portraits he painted of her. Another portrait of actress Pola Negri was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and put on public display for 20 years.
After early success he began to experience bouts of depression, paranoia and feelings of rejection. A prolonged period of mental illness led to Stanley becoming a recluse for some years. He also spent periods in hospital and an exhibition of work he produced as a patient was held at the Institute of Psychiatry in 1974.
He later worked as an attendant at the Tate Gallery where he observed important figures from the art world. He felt shunned and disillusioned by the establishment who failed to recognise the true artist in their midst.

Stanley Collection

Alan J. Thompson: Paintings and Drawings from Observation

20 January – 07 April 2018

Odeon Old StreetWHEN Alan J Thompson paints, each mark he makes is a direct response to the sensation of what is in front of him.
He works directly from observation and that is immediately evident in his exhibition which opens at Tameside Central Art Gallery on Saturday, January 20. Aptly called “Paintings and Drawings from Observation” it captures urban and rural views of the borough and beyond.
Another feature of Alan’s work is that he never uses more than seven colours in a painting. Each is done with oils applied directly from the tube on to a primed wooden panel.
Born in Hyde in 1940, Alan attended Manchester School of Art (then the regional college of art) in the late Fifties where he studied under fellow Hydonian Harry Rutherford. Alan continued to paint while teaching at various colleges and further education centres but gave up the profession in 1989 to focus solely on art.
Alan’s work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy and Royal Scottish Academy, as well as at numerous exhibitions in the North West.
Many of the paintings in the Tameside exhibition are being shown for the first time. They include views of familiar landmarks in Ashton and Hyde, landscapes of Mottram and Werneth Low, and scenes from other locations around Greater Manchester.

Old Baths


The Rutherford Gallery


Gallery dedicated to Harry Rutherford
Permanent exhibition

Harry Rutherford was a nationally renowned artist who came from the Tameside area. His career was long and varied, working initially as a draughtsman and then training with the eminent artist Walter Sickert.

The Rutherford Gallery situated in Central Art Gallery is a celebration of a 20th century master, an artist whose talent allowed him to experience many avenues of artistic life. The works on display will span his entire artistic career. Many will have never been on public display before.

 View highlights of the Rutherford collection.

The Rutherford Gallery within Central Art Gallery

Northern Saturday by Harry Rutherford Woman visitor looking at the Gallery



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Central Art Gallery
Old Street
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0161 342 2650