Exhibitions at the Mercer Art Gallery

Find out what exhibitions are on at the Mercer Art Gallery.

Great Art in Great Places

Gifts from the Contemporary Art Society 1927 – 2023

In the Main Gallery from 28 October 2023 until 5 May 2024

Established in 1910, the Contemporary Art Society supports artists by buying their work and donating it to museums throughout the UK. The Contemporary Art Society also donates gifts and bequests from its long-standing network of patrons and private art collectors. It laid the foundation for many public collections of modern British art including the Harrogate Art Collection.

Harrogate first became a subscriber to the organisation in 1927, receiving the oil painting Portrait of an Old Man (1919) by David Bomberg (1890-1957) that year. Great Art in Great Places brings together over seventy works presented to the Harrogate Art Collection by the Contemporary Art Society over the last nine decades.

Moonlight to burning headlights

A dialogue between the artists John Atkinson Grimshaw and Louise Ventris

In the North Gallery from 21 January to 12 May 2024

This exhibition brings together one of the best-known paintings in our collection and the work of a contemporary northern artist.

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836 - 1893) is regarded as one of the best painters of nocturnal Victorian England, he often depicted industrial northern towns capturing the effects of fog and mist in a lyrical fashion. His painting Silver Moonlight (1880) is in the Harrogate Art Collection.

Louise Ventris’ work brings a contemporary perspective to this fascination with night. Her work evokes a sense of drama and tension, drawing inspiration from moments of ‘dead time’ such as traffic jams or gridlock. Her paintings reflect that sense of isolation and solitude that often accompanies such journeys, while also conveying the underlying stress and complexity of our relationship with urban life and time.

Photographs from the Walker Neesam Archive 

In the South Gallery from 18 March until 28 September 2024

Historian Malcolm Neesam bequeathed his collection of local history material to Harrogate Museums on his death in 2022. This exhibition shows some of the photographs of Harrogate life and landmarks from the collection, as work gets underway to catalogue this significant archive.

We Think the World of You

People and Dogs Drawn Together
David Remfry MBE RA

In the Main Gallery from 11 May until 28 September 2024

These delicate portraits in watercolour and graphite reveal the relationships that develop between dogs and their owners. David Remfry’s lively drawings depict actors such as Ethan Hawke (and Nina), Susan Sarandon (and Penny and Rigby) and Alan Cumming (and Honey), and Hotel Chelsea neighbours in New York where the artist lived for a period.

Many of the portraits are accompanied by sketches from the artist’s notebooks and brief accounts by his sitters of how dog and owner came to find each other.

David Remfry MBE RA studied at Hull College of Art and had his first solo show in London in 1973; more than fifty international solo exhibitions have followed. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2006.

Eva Leigh Walker 

In the North Gallery from 18 May until 28 September 2024

Drawings from Harrogate’s collection, many unseen before, highlight the work of an artist who once lived in the town.  Born in Bradford in 1895, Eva Leigh Walker attended Bradford School of Art and moved to Harrogate where she seems to have made a living from silhouette and portrait commissions from fashionable visitors to the town.

As we piece together her biography, a story emerges of a talented, yet largely now forgotten artist whose work reflected a particular moment in Harrogate’s spa history.

This exhibition is supported by the Friends of the Mercer Art Gallery.

New Light

Prize exhibition 2023 - 2024

In the Main Gallery from 12 October 2024 until 5 January 2025

Established in 2010 to celebrate and promote the visual arts in the North of England, this biennial prize exhibition is now one of the UK’s largest and most celebrated open exhibitions. It is touring Merseyside, London, Cumbria, Northumberland and ends its run in Yorkshire at the Mercer Art Gallery.