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Waterfront Gallery

Welcome to the Waterfront Gallery at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich, an innovative and exciting contemporary exhibition space.

The Gallery is located within the main university Waterfront Building, facing onto the idyllic Ipswich Waterfront. Our exhibition space is adjacent to the vibrant Cargo Cafe, which offers a selection of refreshments to be enjoyed while experiencing the art and the impressive waterfront view.

Admission to the Waterfront Gallery is free and all are welcome, students, staff and members of the public alike. The Gallery is currently open from Monday to Sunday. For more information on our programme please visit the Forthcoming exhibitions.


In 2016, the Waterfront Gallery hosted a wide range of exhibitions. It started the year hosting the international exhibition entitled 'Collateral Drawing' which revealed elements from the artists creative process and featured works from many internationally acclaimed artists including Glenn Brown, Gillian Carnegie and Ryan Gander. The year finished with a series of exhibitions showcasing the young creative talent within our region.

In 2017 our dynamic programme will continue to provide local audiences with the opportunity to engage with contemporary art.

The Waterfront Gallery is home to the 'East Contemporary Art: A Collection of 21st Century Practice which is housed at the university. The collection is the initiative of Robert Priseman and Simon Carter who set out to create a new contemporary art collection, distinct from the historic collections yet complementary to them. The university is proud to house this permanent collection that captures the diversity of practice in the region and re-affirms the importance of artists work to our creative journey. It signals the development of the relationships between artists and university academic staff and students and will impact on wider community engagement. It also has the potential to open discussion on practice and process, and provides a platform for wider arts debates. For more information about the collection please visit the East Contemporary Art webpages.

In 2017 our dynamic programme will continue to provide local audiences with the opportunity to engage with contemporary art.

Current Exhibition

Immediacy of Paint; Surface

Chris Hawtin, Glenn Brown, Kim Anno, Matthew Hrishanu, Robert Priseman and Shaun Camp

23 June - 20 July

Surface is the supportive exhibition for the symposium The Immediacy of Paint; Surface.

There are many internationally recognised artists living in the East of England and those with links to the region whose main practice is painting. It has been the intention of the symposium and this accompanying exhibition to build upon this resource and establish a platform for bringing together networks in order to further the dialogue surrounding painting through questioning how surface is mediated with current technologies.

This exhibition includes artists who are each questioning surface through material or immaterial aspects while employing their own unique visual language both through  their praxis and artistic position.  Surface is a broad subject and with this in mind the ever-expanding boundaries of contemporary painting practice are explored by this distinguished group of artist through their works. 

The artworks featured in Surface reflect varying concepts about surface through both painting, digital imagery, or a hybrid of both. While some artists are firmly rooted in the physical and material aspects of painting they are still embracing digital technologies to mediate surface through their materials. While others are utilising new technologies to incorporate the material and the digital.

Artist such as Chris Hawtin have utilised new methods of image making by employing 3d scans and architectural modelling programmes to explore ‘the language of the painted surface.’   Hawtins writes ‘The digitally generated structures are a brutal interruption within the paintings yet they are subsumed into the language of the painted surface, playing with the classic science fiction image of the alien invasion.’  Hawtin’s use of digital imagery and scans are integral to his image making resulting in hybrid approach. While Hawtin’s hybrid approach is heavily immersed in the material aspect of paint,  digital elements are integral in his visual language and image making.

For example in the work Battle, exemplifies Kim Anno’s ability to form fluid blurs on surfaces of photographic imagery. In which Anno diffuses photographic imagery with diluted painted marks of transparent and opaque colour holding the viewer’s gaze so they are able to absorb its figurative and abstract components simultaneously. These works speak of obliteration and alteration, especially in Battle which uses historical images, in this case a photograph of the engraving of The Lion Hunt (1836) by Horace Vernet. Anno work focuses changing landscape due to climate change and the use of this  image of violent figures frozen in action during a hunt reminds the viewer of acts against nature.

Glenn Brown is widely acknowledged as one of the most revered and prominent painters in the world today. Brown’s work demonstrate a unique visual language that questions the history and traditions of painting, notions of originality and the nature of reproduction, while revealing an immeasurable knowledge of paint and it’s materiality. Browns ability to imply a surface through a flat glossy rendering challenges belief and his visual questioning makes us aware, amongst other things, of what impacts and interferes with how we, the viewers, visually comprehend painting in the digital age. 

In considering that similar if not the same digital image making, editing and printing tools are utilised in both photography and painting, how has the visual language of artists today been imbued by digital elements. This then leads to questioning how pigment versus pixel are compared when considering surface and visual language. 

Artist Shaun Camp’s practice is predominantly focused on digital imagery which leads us to question how surface and image making is addressed, both in practice and conceptually. Camp’s work sits within the realm of photography other than painting yet at its core is about image making. There are painterly and abstract elements in Push IV and Push III, which through their ambiguity becomes shapes and forms hinting at an unknown landscape. Through a painterly and abstractive lens these images have a material presence which disrupts imagined spaces and surfaces.

Symposium: The Immediacy of Paint; Surface 

7 July 2017 

9:00 to 17:00

Immediacy of Paint: Surface is a one day event focused on how artists are currently exploring surface and the materiality of painting in the digital age.  This is the second symposium to be held at The University of Suffolk to include talks and a panel discussion presented by artists and academics. By bringing together artists, academics and art students whose practice focus is on painting in the contemporary moment, the symposium explores the immediacy of paint through Surface. 

We are honoured to include Glenn Brown as the special guest speaker, one of the most revered artists of our time, whose work has been challenging ideas on surface through his unique vision.

Speakers include Chris Hawtin, Glenn Brown, Kath Wood, Kim Anno, Dr. Matthew Bowman, Matthew Krishanu, and  Shaun Camp

The view of the accompanying exhibition view is after the talks.

Please note that a light lunch is included. For additional information on the symposium please go to

To book tickets please click on the link Generalticket



Gallery information

Gallery opening times

Monday - Friday 9.00 - 16.00

Sat 10.00 - 16.00

subject to change


Carol Gant - Arts Curator
T: 01473 338654