An ambitious multi-part show opening at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, this week (official opening Saturday 23 January) is a response by contemporary artists to the treasures of the 400-year-old Portland Collection.

Photograph of a sculptural installation by Michael Forbes


If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? has been created by Primary in Nottingham, a collective of artists working to develop new ways of engaging audiences with contemporary visual art. Primary was invited by The Harley Gallery to present a changing series of displays that reflects our cultural history, and the result reflects the different artists and their ways of working at primary.

The Harley Gallery director Lisa Gee said: “Visitors can expect an evolving insight into contemporary fine art practice. Nottingham is fast becoming an arts hub of national importance, and this exhibition from Primary celebrates our local emerging artists and encompasses installation, painting and performance.”

Niki Russell, programme curator at Primary, said: “As an organisation, we were intrigued by the invitation to collaborate with the Harley Gallery on this project – offering artists based at Primary the opportunity to initiate new collaborations, to make new work for this very particular context and for different audiences to connect with work being made in the studios of Nottingham at this moment in time.”
The second part of the exhibition opening on 8 February will see the artists working in front of visitors in the gallery to create ‘Razzle: All That Jazz’, offering the chance to watch the show evolve and develop over time.

Lisa added: “It will be really interesting to give over the gallery space to the artists. It’s very different to how we normally work as it has potentially unexpected outcomes. But that is also what makes it so joyful. We’re really excited to see how this evolves.”
If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? Part 1
18 Jan – 7 Feb 2016

Untitled: Michael Forbes, Jacob Kelly and Saraa Rain
The sculptural work of resident Primary artist Michael Forbes,with works by Jacob Kelly and Saraa Rain. Through the mediums of architecture and spoken word these works seek to re-establish connections between ancestral stories and contemporary life. Performance artist Saraa Rain will hold spoken word events on Saturday 23 January at 2pm and Sunday 7 February at 2pm.

In the Paravent
Small-scale drawings, paintings and objects from the following artists:

Frank Abbott, Bruce Asbestos, Rob Van Beek, Rebecca Beinart, Jackie Berridge, Aimee Bollu, Wayne Burrows, Louisa Chambers, Lotti V Closs, Sean Cummins, Neil Dixon, Blue Firth, Craig Fisher, Rob Flint, Lynn Fulton, Sam Hewland, Candice Jacobs, Jake Kent, Beth Kettel, Nick Mobbs, Rebecca Ounstead, Alex Pain, Yelena Popova, Martin Rayment, Derek Sprawson, Debra Swann, Oliver Tirré.

If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? Part 2
8 Feb – 28 Feb 2016

Razzle: All that Jazz
Craig Fisher, Louisa Chambers & Rob Flint
Three artists will be working directly onto the gallery walls taking the idea of ‘dazzle camouflage’ as the starting point with the works gradually overlapping to create an overall dazzle effect with interesting juxtapositions that could also be jarring and disrupting of the individual artist’s work.

One in the Middle
Frank Abbott, Rob Smith & SmithAbbott
Video, photography and installation will be used to explore the idea of being somewhere. Find out how the three artists conjure up a chance encounter with someone who becomes an artist in their own right for the duration of the exhibition.

There will be a closing event with discussion and performance at 2pm on Sunday 28 February.