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Annual Open exhibition returns to Nottingham Castle

The Nottingham Annual Open, a celebration of the best artistic talent in the East and West Midlands, opens this weekend at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. 

This year the Open has almost 861 art works submitted by 270 artists and makers from across the region.  And alongside is new work by the 2011 exhibition winner.

The Open starts on Sataurday, September 29, at 10am.  The selection panel this year consisted of three prestigious judges based outside our region – with the dual aim as always of bringing fresh eyes to what’s going on in the Midlands, as well as introducing artists’ work to people working in other parts of the UK. 

The selectors for 2012 were Laura Sillars (Artistic Director, Site Gallery, Sheffield), Simon Roberts (award-winning photographer based in Brighton)  and Clarissa Corfe (Programme Manager, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester). They selected 86 works by 56 artists (32 from Nottingham).  The selected work reflects a wide variety of media including film, collage, drawing, ceramics, painting, sculpture and printmaking with an especially strong showing this year for sculpture and film. 

At the end of the selection the panel picked five ‘finalists’.  All 56 exhibiting artists were then invited to vote for one of the five, to determine the overall winner of the top cash prize.  All prizes for the Annual Open have generously been provided by the exhibition’s sponsors (see credits below) and have proved to be a great draw for artists, along with the unique experience of showing in the historic setting of Nottingham Castle.

For the fourth year running the Annual Open has been supported by the New Art Exchange, who contribute to the prize fund and offer a winning artist a solo exhibition in their galleries.

The much-loved Annual Open exhibition has been a regular feature at the Castle since 1878, and continues to be as popular as ever.  The Open develops year on year and is a valuable vehicle for the region’s emerging artists, as well as those with an established practice. 

 Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said:  “The Annual Open is always an exciting exhibition in the Castle’s programme as it gives local artists and makers the opportunity to show their work at one of the city’s major gallery venues.   It’s also a reflection of the increasingly vibrant artist scene in Nottingham and the wider region.  At the same time, it’s an opportunity to see what the winner of last year’s Nottingham Castle Exhibition Prize has achieved with the funding and the support of to present a solo exhibition.”

 The Castle Solo Prize 2011 winner was sculptor Alex Pain whose exhibition Erratics also opens on Saturday 29 September. 

Pain has created new sculpture to take on the soaring architecture of the Castle’s spectacular Long Gallery. Using forms and textures that hint at the structure of the Castle rock and the architectural features of the 17th Ducal Mansion that stands on the site of the medieval Castle, Pain borrows from the language of traditional sculpture but replaces carved stone with foam and other manmade materials.      

Pain has used the Castle Exhibition Prize as an opportunity to work on a larger scale than in previous work and has created a body of sculptures that hold their own amongst the Castle’s Fine Art collection, setting up playful relationships between his work and the large canvases and gilded frames of the historical paintings.

Entry to Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery is £5.50 for adults, £4 for concessions and city residents with a valid Citycard can gain entry Tuesday – Friday for just £1.  The admission fee to Nottingham Castle includes entry to the exhibitions.  

The Castle is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm (last admission is 3.30pm).

Further details about the Nottingham Annual Open exhibition are available by visiting www.mynottingham.gov.uk/open2012 or for more on Erractics visit http://player.vimeo.com/video/50172270.   Alternatively call Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery on 0115 915 3700.

Prizes for the Nottingham Open 2012 have been sponsored by:

Nottingham City Council; Nottinghamshire County Council; New Art Exchange; Tarpey Gallery; George Thornton Gallery; Ian Robinson Design; One Thoresby Street; Stand Assembly; GreatArt; John E Wright; Design Factory; Black Iris Brewery; Axis; Broadway; Nottingham City Museums’ People’s Panel

Posted on 01 October 2012

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