A powerful and evocative new art exhibition by Leeds-born painter and Royal Academy graduate Adam Stone has launched to celebrate the Merrion Centre’s rich history in the city spanning more than 50 years.
The collection has been produced following access to the owners of the Merrion Centre, the Ziff family’s photographic archives.
The selection of paintings and drawings, which encompass a period from the Merrion Centre’s initial planning and construction phase through to its heyday in the sixties to its evolving presence within the Leeds streetscape today, are on display until 17 December (10am-4pm).
Memories of Merrion…
Adam’s paintings were produced as part of his studies for a PhD at the University of Leeds and reflect his long-standing relationship with the Merrion Centre’s history – an ever present landmark in the lives of Loiners under the age of sixty – and form a loving and insightful tribute to the shining beacon of sixties modernist town planning and development.
The exhibition tells a complex and often overlooked story of the Merrion Centre’s importing of American-style consumerism in the mid-sixties through its ups and downs in the intervening years.
Adam’s collection reveals both an inordinate artistic skill in transforming photographic archival photographs into these powerful and often disquieting images. They reflect the mid-sixties optimism of the Centre’s planning and development, particularly in Adam’s paintings of the initial physical models of the building and his epic paintings of its construction.
The later paintings revel in the Centre’s resilience and ability to adapt with the times. The body of work Adam has produced is an important one in commemorating a very familiar part of the Leeds landscape, a story that is only now being revived in the culture’s continuing fascination with all things modernist. His paintings ask the viewer to look again at what the Merrion Centre meant to us as a backdrop of our everyday lives.
Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief Executive, Town Centre Securities PLC commented
“This is a very special opportunity to see a series of powerful and evocative paintings, made in response to the history of the Merrion Centre, exhibited in the very place itself. These artworks by Adam commemorate the importance of the Merrion Centre to those who have, over the years, worked, shopped, eaten, drank, watched movies and danced in the iconic venue. We are excited to see the reaction of visitors which no doubt will take people on a wonderfully nostalgic journey.”