Rochester Art Gallery

Rochester Art Gallery features a changing programme of exciting contemporary visual art.

We hold four exhibitions every year which showcase the work of local, regional and international artists.

The gallery has a varied programme which includes curated exhibitions of fine and decorative arts. Recent shows have included textiles, craft, printmaking and painting.

It is free to visit the gallery but you may need to buy tickets for some workshops. Find us on Facebook or Instagram.

Join our e-mailing list for details of exhibition previews, workshops and special events, just click the art gallery option on the list.

Visit Rochester Art Gallery

You can find the gallery in the Medway Visitor Information Centre.

Address: 95 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1LX

Opening hours

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: 10.30am to 5pm
October to March: Closed on Sundays except during special events.


Current exhibition: Photo by Zara CarpenterEchoes - Experiments by Zara Carpenter

17 January to 28 March 2020

Rochester Art Gallery

Free

For the last two years Zara Carpenter has been examining her experience of past trauma and how its echoes have come to manifest themselves as physical pain. 

Zara takes photographs of her body using analogue cameras. She then experiments using different materials and techniques to disrupt the image and its chemistry, damaging the emulsion to create abstractions. Only ghosts remain of what would have been. The experimental, destructive process is initiated by hand, yet the results are beyond human control. By submitting to chaos Zara becomes free from constraints. By harnessing mistakes she has found a place where control and chance collide. 

Images of her body metamorphose into landscapes, coastlines, weather fronts, fossils dug from the earth, or distant nebulae. The act of creating these images has allowed Zara to process and understand her past, to sit with it, bring it to the surface and exorcise it from her into the images she makes. An act of catharsis. An act of healing. 

Zara Carpenter is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist. In 2017 Zara co-founded the ACE-funded arts project SICK! Living With Invisible Illness

To accompany the exhibition, essays have been written by online curator and writer Stephen Ellcock and Dr Nick Fallon, a neuroscientist, pain researcher and lecturer at the University of Liverpool. These will be available on our website and to pick up in the gallery. 

The work in this exhibition has been created with the support of Arts Council England, Developing Your Creative Practice Grant. 

Installation of the large wall piece was kindly supported by Westbury Signs.


Workshops

Saturday 8 February 11am to 1pm

Rochester Art Gallery

The Rochester Photobook Club informal monthly meet up

Join Zara and Rikard for discussions which will include books by local artists. It is free, all are welcome and there is no need to book.

Sunday 9 February 2pm to 4.30pm

Hulkes Lane Darkroom & Studio in Rochester

Discover the original Victorian polaroid

Wet plate photography talk and demonstration with Rikard Österlund. It costs £5 and is suitable for adults and young people aged 15+.

Book your place through Medway Tickets Live

Saturday 7 March 11am to 12noon

Rochester Art Gallery

Artist’s exhibition talk and tour with Zara

The event is free, all are welcome and there is no need to book.

Saturday 7 March 2pm to 4.30pm

Hulkes Lane Darkroom & Studio in Rochester

Experimental long exposure portrait photography

Workshop with Rikard Österlund (bring your own digital camera with manual settings). It costs £5 and is suitable for adults and young people aged 15+.

Book your place through Medway Tickets Live

Saturday 28 March 1pm to 3pm

Exhibition closing celebration


Past exhibitions

Our past exhibitions have included:

  • Bizarre and Curious Silks: Hannah Robson's textiles exhibition challenged the limits imposed by the loom, exploring how threads can escape and disrupt traditional woven construction
  • START: Primary Prints: over 200 children from local schools created prints and other artworks using the treasures at the Guildhall Museum as inspiration
  • Painting with Cloth: Cas Holmes' exhibition 'Painting with Cloth' explored the connection between landscape, people and place. Collecting free material as she goes, Cas creates marks with cloth, paint and stitch
  • Feels Like Forever Ago: showcasing the early work of Daisy Parris and Laurie Vincent. Their work is rooted in a post-punk iconographical collage style, commenting on the social fabric of the world around them
  • Anatomica: Paper Textiles from the Cabinet of Curiosity Studio: showcasing the work of Caroline Collinge, exploring design and visual art in the form of paper textiles and origami
  • Creative Destruction - Volcanoes inspiring art and science: exploring natural materials through sight and touch you will discover how to map out your findings in a field notebook
  • The Medway Print Festival: a festival with over 40 events and activities, showcasing some of the best printmaking being created today and highlighting the fascinating local history of the medium
  • Techno Fossils: Darrell Hawkins explored alternative Kent based ‘monoliths and monuments’ – overlooked, forgotten or obsolete structures across Kent that shape its current identity
  • Margo Selby: Pick by Pick: showcasing a colourful exhibition of hand-woven framed textiles
  • Pigmental: an exhibition of paintings by Karl Bielik
  • Of Fireships and Iron: showcasing the work of 5 Medway based artists pushing the boundaries of contemporary printmaking
  • Flax, Fibres and Plant Dyes: exploring the landscape of Kent for the Kent Cloth Project by Francesca Baur