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Claire Riley exhibition, 53.Two gallery, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 January 2018

Claire Riley

Claire Riley

Copyright © Simon W Randall 2017 @

The captivating work of local artist Claire Riley came under the spotlight when it was exhibited at 53.Two gallery in Manchester city centre.

The urban venue was fitting for Claire’s work, much of it inspired by the changing landscape of Greater Manchester.

Claire grew up in Didsbury but was drawn to derelict areas of Hulme and Moss Side during the slum clearance of the mid-1960’s where she would take photos with her dad’s cine camera.

‘I would pester my dad to take me there with his new camera so I could capture the scene. I was intrigued by the sense of chaos and abandonment and the feeling of change that was in the air,’ explained Claire. Her work is characterised by watery textures of light, half-light, of hidden places that only she has observed and of the mingling of the old and new that sums up Manchester today.

As a night-time social worker Claire sees the region at dawn and twilight as she travels across the metropolis.

‘My job, working at night, has inspired me to see things in a different light, literally and figuratively. I feel compelled to record the region old and new. I certainly feel more connected to what’s around me since doing this job,’ says Claire.

‘I prefer to see myself as a digital painter rather than an artist. My work is not about photo manipulation, more about using a virtual paint palette. And more recently I’m using an actual paint palette to create or further embellish the earlier digital images, which I find quite exciting.

‘I’m really enjoying the challenge of this and getting messy again!’

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