A Mancunian artist brought up in the shadow of Maine Road soccer stadium, who later became an occasional artist-in-residence with a leading local paintmaker and used their traditional coach enamels to develop his distinctive abstract style, is to exhibit a collection of his latest works at one of Manchester’s newest, most stylish hotels. The artist is Max Hague, who as a youngster once played football alongside Nobby Stiles and whose highly tactile improvisational paintings are now increasingly collectable; the hotel showcasing his work is the City Inn Manchester, which occupies a prize city centre site at the Piccadilly Place development and runs a changing programme of art exhibitions, highlighting notable artists. The Max Hague exhibition, arranged by leading contemporary art curator Meredith Gunderson, will be open to view 24 hours a day this autumn, starting with a private viewing on Thursday, 24th September.
Providing a degree of artistic patronage and a regular supply of paint materials is leading independent surface coatings manufacturer, HMG Paints, which has presented one of Max’s original paintings to the former Director General of the CBI, Sir Digby Jones. For the City Inn exhibition, the family-owned firm has erected a marquee at its Collyhurst Road site, providing the artist with light and space in which to create a new series of pictures, and it is delighted with the creative expression given to enamel and acrylic paints more normally used for finishing buses and coaches, bridges, classic cars and industrial machinery.
Meredith Gunderson, who runs London-based Culture House, an initiative of the Prince of Wales’ charity Arts & Business, was impressed with Max’s work and felt it was suitable for exhibiting by City Inns, an award-winning chain of hotels for which she is consulting curator: “His work is very accessible and the type of art that people are looking for right now. It is very tactile and, because of the materials he uses, people can actually touch the surface and appreciate the paintings more. At the City Inn, Manchester, we are not providing traditional, white gallery space and his work has to fight for attention with guests, luggage trolleys, lifts, staircases and all the other distractions of a busy city centre venue. Thankfully, his work has great visual impact and presence, so will be a great fit for a dynamic hotel setting.”
Max was taught to paint from a very early age by his father Fred, also an artist, and although the competing attractions of football and Manchester City held sway during his teenage years, he rediscovered a passion for abstract art when viewing Picasso and other modern painters at the Tate and subsequently established his own art studio in central Manchester. His links with HMG Paints date back ten years when, following an earlier collaboration on creative work with disabled children, the company invited him to work in an experimental artistic residency.
“That experience fundamentally changed the way I work with paint,” says Max. “I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of colours and the idea of using HMG’s commercial enamels, acrylics and other products in the world of fine art. I evolved a whole new technique, applying paint in an original, radical way, and couldn’t have achieved such beautiful, tactile surfaces without their materials. Since then, the experimentation has developed further and the company has continued to supply me with products, so I am grateful for their generosity and support.”
Contemporary art expert, Meredith describes Max’s style as a modern extension of abstract expressionism, characterised by the same non-representational and improvisational techniques, and she is excited about the new work he is producing for the show: “We have provided some guidance for his new body of work and suggested a kinetic element on some of his circular pieces, adding a discreet mechanism so the disks actually turn around continually. Max is also producing a whole series of paintings especially for the restaurant and it’s likely that we shall retain some of those pieces,” she says. “City Inns is a culturally friendly organisation and this programme of changing exhibitions at each of its hotels has been well received by its guests, visitors and staff. Before the opening, we hope to arrange a tour of the work for the Manchester staff, accompanied by Max, the artist.”
John Falder, MD of HMG Paints, is delighted that Max Hague’s work is being exhibited in the city: “This has been a captivating alliance between artist and commercial paintmaker and we have quite a number of Max’s paintings on display, both at work and home. I’d hardly describe ourselves as patrons of the arts, but we love his paintings and they always make great talking points for visitors to the site. I hope people in Manchester will take the opportunity over the next three months to see, and touch, the work of a notable local artist.”
Further enquiries to:
HMG Paints Ltd
Telephone: 0161 205 7631
Telephone: 0207 939 0840