Conrad Atkinson | Dreams of Permanence, Hopes of Transience| 01 April - 22 May 2011

Thornton, the birthplace of the Brontë siblings, provides a fertile setting for internationally renowned artist Conrad Atkinson to revisit a past installation and unveil new drawings inspired by the roots of literary creation.

Taking Emily Brontë's text Wuthering Heights as a starting point Atkinson's politically charged practice negotiates through to contemporary issues of immigration and identity. This exhibition offers the rare opportunity to see a spectrum of Atkinson's practice within an intimate provincial space. "The Northern region is the crucible in which so many ideas, meanings and cultures have been forged, it has a special sense of identity; it has the resilient energy which can fuse creativity and work together." Conrad Atkinson.

At South Square, the stage is set for Atkinson to revisit an original installation, For Emily, in light of his own recent experience as an immigrant in America. For Emily was originally commissioned in 1992 by the Henry Moore Foundation, which at that time was based at Dean Clough, Halifax. The works responded to the specific cultural milieu of West Yorkshire, and through initiating conversations with local communities, Atkinson explored powerful links between Emily Brontë and Bangladeshi women of the West Riding - both are daughters of immigrant fathers seeking to traverse the complexity of their own identity. The works fuse Atkinson's conceptual rigour with personal testimony to entangle across generations the experience of otherness.

Alongside this re-imagined installation, South Square will curate previously unseen drawing works which illustrate Atkinson's fascination with the impulses of the literary mind. Writers William Wordsworth, Emily Brontë and Ted Hughes are represented metaphorically loading shopping trolleys with the components of their inspiration. How potent that Atkinson should chose to return to the very place where the Brontë story began in which to deconstruct the alchemy of creative process.

"Because of his clarity, his wit, his love of community and his gift for locating the hidden stitch that unravels the seam, Conrad Atkinson has gradually revealed himself to be one of the most thoroughly humanist artists of our time." Dan Cameron, Director, New Museum of Contemporary art New York.

Personal Tempest

Conrad Atkinson, at South Square Gallery, is part of Personal Tempest; a wider curatorial project centred on the Brontës, of which both South Square Gallery and the Brontë Parsonage Museum are both partners. Whilst Conrad Atkinson is on show at South Square Gallery, the Brontë Parsonage Museum will exhibit new work by artist Catherine Bertola. Personal Tempest was devised by International curator Tereza Kotyk and the exhibitions at South Square Gallery and the Brontë Parsonage Museum will link with a larger group exhibition opening concurrently at partner galleries: The Neue Gallery, Innsbruck, Austria, and UH Galleries, Hertfordshire, UK. Based on Thomas Bernhard's book Amras and Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, Personal Tempest explores how our inner state of mind can be affected by natural phenomena, how at times these effects can develop into a "personal tempest" - a "storm" of confused, eerie and uncomfortable feelings. Mirrored in imaginary accounts and personal testimony, the exhibition explores this romantic motif through paintings, drawings and installation.

To be forever known, Catherine Bertola, Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, 16 April - 08 July 2011
Personal Tempest, Neue Galerie, Innsbruck, 26 May - 09 July 2011
Personal Tempest, UH Galleries, Hatfield, 17 September - 05 November 2011

Artist's Biography

Conrad Atkinson was born in Cumbria in 1940 and gained degrees from Carlisle College Of Art, Liverpool College Of Art and The Royal Academy Schools. He has received international recognition for his innovative art. He has had numerous solo and international shows. Lawrence Rinder, curator of the Whitney Museum Of American Art, observed "It is the forging together of conceptualism and activism to art practice that distinguishes Atkinson's work and makes it such an important contribution to twentieth century Art History."

Artist interview

Conrad Atkinson in conversation with Fran Coldrick from BCB radio

Artist's website

Further Images

South Square, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3LD
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