Return of the Rochdale Sculptors

Date published: 04 February 2008

As part of Touchstones ‘I Love 70s’ season, key members of the Rochdale Sculptors return with an exhibition of work from their 70s heydays shown alongside recent contemporary work. The eight artists are: Tony Smart, Brian Woods, Peter Wolstenholme, Danny Milne, Barry Hobson, Walter Kershaw, Christine Pearson and the late Peter Dent. 

The Rochdale Sculptors were formed in 1968 by Peter Wolstenholme and Tony Smart who at the time were lecturers at Rochdale College of Art. More tutors at the college soon became involved and the group grew to include other artists, some of whom had no direct connection with the college or Rochdale.  

This exhibition focuses on the work of eight key artists from the group. It features surviving original works created when the group was active (as the majority of the large scale work created in the 1970s was made for temporary exhibitions much has since been sold, destroyed or lost) alongside contemporary pieces the artists have created more recently showing developments in their practice and links between the old and new works.

From the late 60s until they split in 1974, the Rochdale Sculptors often took their work outdoors to bring it directly to members of the public, targeting viewers with little or no experience of art. Their sculptures regularly appeared along the Esplanade and in other parts of the Borough as well as other locations in the region. They also exhibited indoors at Rochdale Art Gallery and other galleries and venues including the Houses of Parliament. The Rochdale Sculptors became firmly embedded in the cultural life of the town and it is fitting that their work is re-examined as part of a Touchstones Rochdale’s 70s season.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 2 February to Sunday 11 May 2008. Admission is free.

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