Rochester Art Gallery

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

We hold 4 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.

Visit Rochester Art Gallery

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

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

Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.

Follow Rochester Art Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

Current exhibitions

Entangled Realms - 15 Years of Printmaking by Jane Furst

Date: Friday 29 April 2022 to Saturday 16 July 2022.

Cost: Free, suitable for adults and those aged 16+

Free workshop: Saturday 28 May 2022, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Join Jane in our gallery activity space for a few hours or a whole day for a crown making workshop.

Create your own crown to take home inspired by Jane's natural forms and recycled materials.

Suitable for adults, young people aged 16+ and accompanied children over 8. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

About the exhibition

The enigmatic works of painter and printmaker Jane Furst are visual explorations drawing on her fascination with natural form and an early passion for both art and science. She has an interest in exploring metaphor and metaphysical ideas and is obsessed with the hidden nature and mysterious connection between diverse subjects.

‘Entangled Realms’ represents a lifetime of interwoven ideas and stories which have evolved into macroscopic, dreamlike images of boats, sea, sky, moon and stars. It also includes reinterpretations of Northern Renaissance portraits and the repeated use of Radiolarian as a motif, the microscopic seawater creatures beloved by 19th century biologist Ernst Haeckel.

Jane uses 2 methods of printmaking: Mezzotint to work on a small scale and Drypoint for larger works. These are used as a form of ‘montage’ mono printing. The Mezzotint story 'Primordial Domain', reinterprets images from Haeckel’s ‘Art Forms in Nature’.

The exhibition also includes collaborative works made with Ben Sad on a project combining freestyle watercolour with printmaking, inspired by visits to the River Medway’s Upnor shoreline in 2019.

During lockdown 2020, unable to access her print studio, Jane crafted a 3D response to her preoccupation with natural forms. She did this by making a collection of crowns using shells, seed pods and Radiolarian. She has created a commemorative crown for the Queens Platinum Jubilee especially for this exhibition.

Jane is based in Rochester where she practices at Medway Fine Printmakers at INTRA. She is a graduate from the Royal College of Art in textile design and has work in major collections including the V&A and Wellcome Collection in London and the Ernst Haeckel Haus, University of Jena, Germany.

Ben Sad is a local Medway artist and UCA graduate in graphic design who enjoys collaborating with other artists. 

Original and giclée prints of many of the works are available to order.

This exhibition is part of Medway Print Festival which is running from 4 to 19 June 2022.

art sculpture with sticks created by Jane Furst.

Crown sculpture by Jane Furst.

Upcoming exhibitions

Unpicking Places: Ways of Making by Christopher Tipping

Date: Thursday 28 July 2022 to Friday 14 October 2022.

Preview: Thursday 28 July 2022, 6.30pm to 8.30pm - meet Christopher Tipping at the gallery. All welcome and refreshments served.

Cost: Free.

Activities: The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of activities including artist and summer self-led walks. For more information see our Rochester Art Gallery and Medway Arts social media pages.

About the exhibition

Artist Christopher Tipping has collaborated and delivered creative projects in urban public spaces for over 30 years.

This exhibition, with thanks to IP Surfaces, brings together a range of both his conceptual and completed work that respond to the theme of place. Most notably, it includes a range of recent and current commissions undertaken across Medway’s flagship waterfront developments.

Christopher Tipping explains how he became fascinated by places:

"We all store impressions of places we have visited and know intuitively how somewhere makes us feel. I have been creatively ‘looking’ at places since I was a child. It’s a habit, accepting and automatic, creatively surveying spaces, gently unpicking them. It is an emotional and personal process.

I am fascinated by the way places silently communicate with me and think about how I can communicate that sensibility directly to you. The trigger for a project is often a detail, something out of the usual. It is a combination of several strands of interest weaving a new narrative or perhaps telling an old story in new way.

I see social and industrial history trodden into pavements, threshold slabs, worn door handles. I notice texture, colour and context, the expressive language of a building, the characteristic craft and hand of an individual maker.

Curiosity, interpretation and telling stories are the sharpened tools of my trade. I seek out what might be considered hidden and forgotten, making connections between things past and present and forging new spaces and ways of making."

Francis Knight will curate the exhibition.

collage image of ‘Chatham Placemaking Project’ by Christopher Tipping. Includes photographs of monuments, buildings and locations around Chatham.
Collage image of Chatham Placemaking Project by Christopher Tipping.

Past exhibitions

Our past exhibitions have included:

  • Unknown Soldier - works by David Tovey: David Tovey is a formerly homeless artist, educator, activist and ex-soldier. Raw, uncompromising, and thought provoking, the exhibition explored questions highlighting the struggles that people face when they leave the armed forces. The show included paintings, photographs, memorabilia, film, installation and performance that documented David’s journey, as well as which embraced the wider issues associated with homelessness in all its forms.
  • All that Remains - Thirty Years in the Making by Neil Bottle: This exhibition explored family stories, nostalgia and memories using exquisitely layered, cutting-edge digital design and precious fragments of the artists archive of family photographs. The result was an autobiographical narrative printed onto cloth. It drew on memory - both real and imagined - in which physical photographic prints and digitally captured images were deconstructed and re-presented. The exhibition celebrated Neil’s 30 years as a textiles practitioner and was a milestone, unconfined by the constraints of the artist's commercial fashion print work.
  • The Last Dream of My Soul – Dickens 150 Print Open Call Exhibition: Dickens 150 Print Open Call Exhibition', was postponed several times due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions and finally opened in June 2021 bringing together the beautiful and varied work of 46 printmakers from all over the UK created especially for the exhibition. The show explored death in Dickens’ life and novels, and his long association with Medway. It included 100 new prints and delved into the Victorian obsession with mourning etiquette with unseen Victorian funerary treasures loaned from the Guildhall Museum collection.
  • Pattern and Beyond by University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Rochester: showcased work by over 20 students on the BA Fashion Textiles and MA Printed Textiles for Fashion and Interiors courses at UCA Rochester.  The wide variety of art on show reflected the diversity of students and the amazing opportunities available at UCA. The student designers created some beautiful pieces that stand out from the crowd as they launch into the constantly evolving fashion industry.
  • Out of Sight Not Out of Mind: showcased work created by people with sight loss, making art work at home in Medway. The project was led by Wendy Daws, MESS ROOM and Peer Arts who worked with this often hidden community to share their voices and creative talents and show that people's creative lives continue during lockdown. #OutOfSightNotOutOfMind2020.
  • Explore and Draw - Art in Lockdown: showed over 150 artworks by 88 'Explore & Draw' members created during lockdown via online classes. A celebration of the power of creativity to excite, unite and inspire, the show included work inspired by home, nature, spirituality and personal responses to the pandemic.
  • Echoes - Experiments by Zara CarpenterEchoes looked at the artists experience of past trauma and how its echoes have come to manifest themselves as physical pain, using photographs of her body using analogue cameras and experiments to disrupt the image and its chemistry to create abstractions.
  • 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.