A Cornwall-based artist and writer has been chosen as the winner of a prestigious accolade by visitors to a showcase of contemporary art.
Bram Thomas Arnold’s work How To Walk (Parts 1-9) was voted to receive the Audience Choice Award at the first Plymouth Contemporary Open.
Hosted in the Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University, the exhibition featured 35 striking works by artists and collaborations from across the UK and Europe.
All the works explored the relationship between history and the very latest innovations and understanding within contemporary art practice.
How to Walk is a multi-layered and multi-voiced text/drawing that narrates a journey Bram undertook from London to Switzerland in 2009.
Extracts from The Vintage Book of Walking are woven into the narrative of the journey, with the work challenging the viewer to question their presence in the act of reading, writing and viewing, either an artwork, or the world.
Bram Thomas Arnold said: “It is truly amazing that the people who visited the Plymouth Contemporary Open took the time to vote for me.
“When you spend so long on a body of work in isolation, you forget it may be a novelty or a pleasure to someone else, and to have it received in such a way is remarkable.
“The entire exhibition was a great collection of international works that also showcased not only what the South West has to offer contemporary art, but also what contemporary art has to offer the South West.”
The Plymouth Contemporary Open, sponsored by Santander Universities, was the first initiative from the Plymouth Contemporary Partnership, a new collaboration between Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University and the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.
Following its launch in February, more than 1,200 submissions were received from Europe, Japan, Peru, India and the USA, and a panel of respected judges selected the works to go on show.
The panel also selected the winners of three associated prizes: The Art Mill Prize, valued at £2,500, was awarded to Pilar Mata Dupont; A Special Recognition Award of £1,000 was presented to Ruadhri Ryan; The New Artist Award of £1,000, sponsored by Martin Bush Fine Art, was awarded to Harriet Bowman.
The exhibition was open for around six weeks, closing on August 29, with box office figures suggesting it was the most successful summer show ever at the Peninsula Arts Gallery.
Dr Sarah Chapman, director of Peninsula Arts, said: “We have had such a great response to the first Plymouth Contemporary Open with visitors actively debating the work on show and their preferred choice.
“With such a diverse range to select from it was always going to be a difficult decision, and the top three reflected the breadth of artwork in the exhibition. Bram Thomas Arnold’s literary reflections were a demonstration of the high calibre of artists and works selected for the exhibition.”
Peter Smith, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, added: “The Plymouth Contemporary Open has set the bar for future exhibitions of this kind in the city and has provided a great platform for both established and emerging artists.
“Many congratulations to Bram on his win. His work was a definite highlight in the show and the fact that he is based in the region also feels very fitting.”
(image: Bram Thomas Arnold with his work How To Walk (Parts 1-9).)
(from a press release)