Nicola Ellis: Sculpture: a fabrication

Sculpture: a fabrication is a research and development project by artist Nicola Ellis.

Utilising practical research to inform new sculptural works, the project explores the processes inherent in the production of large-scale public sculpture, the artist/fabricator dynamic and how the artist’s hand can be present in elements of sculpture fabricated by others.

It builds on the research and relationships Ellis developed during a previous research project Play/pause: the turbulent history of UK steel, in which she spent time on large-scale industrial steel sites and within steel communities.

Ellis is conducting site visits to UK-based steel fabricators who specialise in the production of large-scale sculptural work by internationally renowned artists.

Using these site visits as technical inspiration, Ellis will be testing new works in progress in three exhibitions in Manchester, Altrincham and Blackpool throughout the project. The first exhibition is at The Great Medical Disaster in September (see below).

Three public talks by guest speakers – which will each address different technical, conceptual and social issues inherent within public sculpture – will be announced shortly.

Sculpture: a fabrication is an Arts Council England funded project and is produced by Mark Devereux Projects.

Talks programme


Claire Mander | Curator and Director of the CoLAB
6-7pm | Thursday 30 November
Manchester Art Gallery
Free | Booking required via Eventbrite

Are temporary installations a way of reintegrating art into everyday life? Claire Mander draws on her curatorial work situating site-specific installations in unusual spaces to consider the importance of site to public sculpture.

Sculpture: a fabrication talks programme contextualises the research of Mark Devereux Projects’ represented artist Nicola Ellis. With four new commissions planned for the public realm in Greater Manchester, these timely talks will each address the differing logistical, conceptual and social aspects of public sculpture.

About Claire Mander

Claire Mander is Curator and Director of theCoLAB and is the former Deputy Director and Curator of the Royal British Society of Sculptors where she created theCoLAB programme including the Sculpture Shock award for site-specific interventions, skulptur, an exhibition of 17 Nordic sculptors across 3 sites in London, Boyle Family’s World Series commission in Gotland, Sweden and a yearly celebration of female sculptors at Napoleon Garden, Holland Park. She sits on many selection panels including RBKandC’s Arts Grants Panel.

Accompanying exhibitions


Nicola Ellis | ICW, Blackpool

Information coming soon…

Previous related talks and exhibitions


Gavin Wade | Artist-Curator and Director, Eastside Projects
6-7pm | Thursday 9 November
Manchester Art Gallery
Free | Booking required via Eventbrite

How can public art be useful to society? Join Gavin Wade as he questions the processes of public art and considers how art and artists can not only impact, but be embedded within the social fabric of a city.

Sculpture: a fabrication talks programme contextualises the research of Mark Devereux Projects’ represented artist Nicola Ellis. With four new commissions planned for the public realm in Greater Manchester, these timely talks will each address the differing logistical, conceptual and social aspects of public sculpture.

About Gavin Wade

Gavin Wade is a pragmatic utopian, an artist-curator, gallery director, publisher, and comprehensivist, one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects in Birmingham, and a Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University. His aim was to establish a new model of artist-run space that supports high-quality artists’ practice, impacts significantly on the cultural life of the city, and contributes to both national and international critical cultural ideas and agendas. In 2010 he received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Award for exceptional cultural entrepreneurs. He has curated numerous solo exhibitions and group projects, as well as publishing and writing a myriad of books, including The Interruptors: A Non-Simultaneous Novel, Article Press, 2005, Has Man A Function In Universe? Book Works, 2008 and his new book of collected writings Upcycle This Book, Book Works & Stroom den Haag, 2017.

Vicki Young | Senior Curator | FutureCity
6-7pm | Thursday 5 October 2017
Manchester Art Gallery

Vicki Young, Senior Curator at FutureCity discusses her work and how major site-specific public sculpture is commissioned, funded and realised.

Sculpture: a fabrication talks programme contextualises the research of Mark Devereux Projects’ represented artist Nicola Ellis. With four new commissions planned for the public realm in Greater Manchester, these timely talks will each address the differing logistical, conceptual and social aspects of public sculpture.

About Vicki Young

Vicki Young curates and manages the delivery of many of Futurecity’s major public art commissions, projects and cultural programmes in the public realm.

Young’s commissions include Conrad Shawcross’ The Optic Cloak, a 49 metre embedded design within the flue tower of a new Energy Centre on Greenwich Peninsula, and co-curating a £1.7m Arts Programme at the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital, which featured five major embedded art commissions by international artists and designers.


Nicola Ellis | AIR Gallery
10 November 2017
A4 Studios, 30 Grosvenor Rd, Altrincham, WA14 1LD

This site-responsive work by Ellis will be the second in a series of sculptures questioning the relationship between sculpture, architectural space, materials and process.

The grand unveiling of the work will take place on November 10 2017 and will also mark the unveiling of AIR’s new performance space and soft launch of its studio complex at A4 Studios. The launch will also coincide with AIR’s November exhibition Curiosities, showcasing curious and unusual artwork from across the UK.

About AIR Gallery

AIR Gallery is part of A4 Studios CIC led by a co-operative team of early career professionals within the field of art and curation. We operate as a community interest company with the view to celebrate and support emerging talent within the North-West of England and broaden participation in the arts on a national scale.


Transfuse: Three weeks of sculpture at The Great Medical Disaster

Paul Bramley / Nicola Ellis / Alyson Olson / Polly Tomlinson

20/09/17 – 11/10/17

Four artists will take up residence at The Great Medical Disaster to make sculpture in response to the internal architecture of the space.

Developing a dialogue between each practice, they will discuss mutual motivations of process, materiality, Arte Povera and the Baroque.

You are welcome to view and discuss the works at the open event on 05/10/17 18.30 – 21.30pm.

The Great Medical Disaster, Unit 3, Great Northern Tower, Watson Street, Manchester, M3 4EE.

Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces (NAS) is an initiative to create dynamic project spaces for artists, artist collectives and artist development agencies. Making use of temporary vacant retail, office and light industrial units, NAS provides opportunities for emerging creatives to incubate their practices, produce work and showcase new art to local communities. Currently CG runs New Art Spaces in Bolton, Leigh and Manchester City Centre.

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