The Nottingham Castle Open, a celebration of the best artistic talent in the East and West Midlands, continues to be one of the busiest and most exciting annual exhibitions in the City. The exhibition opens on Saturday 19th September and runs until Sunday 8th November at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, the oldest provincial museum in the country.
The much-loved Nottingham Castle 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. This is testimony to the strength of the art schools in the city with many artists who train in Nottingham remaining here and producing the best art in the East Midlands. All the works exhibited are for sale, giving local people the opportunity to buy affordable, contemporary art by rising local artists for their homes and offices.
This ‘Open-submission’ style exhibition competition, where anyone can apply for their work to be ‘judged’ for a place in a prestigious exhibition at the Castle, is selected by a panel of four independent judges from outside the region: Robert Dingle (Contemporary Projects Manager, Art Fund), Kerry Harker (Artistic Director, The Tetley, Leeds) and artists Deb Covell and Ben Woodesdon. The selection was completely anonymous, judged purely on images of the artwork alone. The judges aim to bring 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.
Corinna Spencer, winner of last year’s Solo Exhibition prize, will also be exhibiting alongside the Open from 19th September. Her exhibition, Portrait of a Lady, will be her first major solo presentation of work in a Public gallery, and will present ambitious installation of over 1,000 paintings created within the past 9 months, hanging from the ceiling at various heights within the South Hall stairwell. Through portraiture she explores the effects and manifestations of fixation or romantic love from both sides of a relationship, whether real or fictional.
This year the judges considered 378 applications and selected 30 artists, 10 of these are Nottingham-based (within the City Boundary), 8 from Nottinghamshire, 8 from the remainder of the East Midlands, and 4 from the West Midlands.
The selected work reflects a wide variety of media including sculpture, drawing, photography, painting, printmaking and installation, with the largest selection of film and video to date. The judging panel will meet in Nottingham again before the exhibition draws to a close to decide on an overall winner who will receive the Grand Prize of £2,000. There is also a wide variety of other prizes which include cash, materials, exhibition and residency opportunities up for grabs. All winners, including the Grand Prize winner, will be announced at the closing ceremony on Friday 6th November 2015 that has been supported by Magpie Brewery.
All prizes for the Nottingham Castle Open 2015 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. The exhibition now offers a range of prizes to help the applicants with their careers which include, but are not limited to: A solo exhibition at Nottingham Castle, The Nottingham Castle Purchase Prize, a solo exhibition at Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donnington and SYSON Gallery on High Pavement, £500 of artist materials from GreatArt.co.uk, as well as other cash, exhibition, residency and professional development prizes from New Art Exchange, Surface Gallery, Ian Robinson Design, John E. Wright, One Thoresby Street and the Nottingham Society of Artists.
Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “The Nottingham Castle Open popularity and importance improves year on year that is evident with the increase in applications and the calibre of work submitted. The Nottingham artist’s scene (and the region) is gaining in strength and momentum as we have evidenced through the quality, depth and breadth of this year’s entries- this exhibition remains a key focal point in the City’s annual art calendar.
“Being selected to exhibit at the Open at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, one of the city’s major gallery venues, is a real accomplishment for local artists and can prove to be the vital step in their career.
“If you want to see great art and discover local artists, the Nottingham Castle Open is a ‘must-see’ exhibition. Plus there’s also the opportunity to purchase a unique, locally made, artwork for your home or workplace.”