The Exeter Contemporary Open has grown into a major minor, or should that be minor major, exhibition. Not only for Exeter and the South West, but as one of the UK’s most prominent regional contemporary art competitions.
And as with all competitions, winning isn’t everything. And to reinforce that, here’s past winner Paul Merrick.
Conversations and connections
“For me, the best part of these things is when I arrive at a preview and am really able to connect with the other exhibitors, and the people behind making the show happen,” said Paul.
“It’s all about having conversations and making connections which go on to influence my work and might lead to future collaborations.”
And again this September, the region’s leading contemporary arts venue, Exeter Phoenix, will present a significant showcase of emerging and established contemporary visual artists from across the UK.
Established in 2006, this year marks the return of the exhibition to the Exeter Phoenix after having taken a break in 2018 whilst the venue’s gallery spaces underwent a significant refurbishment.
The venue has announced 15 shortlisted artists whose work will appear in the exhibition. They were selected from hundreds of submissions by a panel of art specialists – critic and curator Sacha Craddock, artist and 2006 Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner and Phoenix Gallery Curator Matt Burrows.
This year’s selected artists are Iain Andrews, Amanda Benson, Sara Berman, Jack Bodimeade, Harriet Bowman, Patrick Brandon, Michael Calver, Grant Foster, Alia Hamaoui, Jeb Haward, Harley Kuyck-Cohen, Dinu Li, John Lawrence, Mahali O’Hare and Molly Thomson. This shortlist includes artists working across painting, sculpture, photography and video, resulting in an exhibition that forms a highlight of the South West’s cultural calendar.
Regular visitors to Exeter Phoenix’s galleries will recognise Sara Berman’s practice from the latest Phoenix Gallery exhibition, Hospital Rooms. Michael Calver is a previous Café Gallery exhibitor, whilst John Lawrence, Mahali O’Hare and Molly Thomson have all had work featured in previous Exeter Contemporary Open exhibitions.
A special awards ceremony will be held to launch the exhibition at a special preview on Thursday 19 September, sponsored by Exeter’s Haines Watts Chartered Accountants and supported by St Austell Brewery. The selected artists are eligible for the £1,000 Overall Award, £500 Additional Award and the £200 Audience Choice Award, which will be voted for by exhibition visitors over the course of the exhibition and announced in its final week.
The exhibition will run from Friday 20 September until Sunday 10 November, open daily 10am-5.30pm.
Entry to Exeter Phoenix’s gallery spaces is free. Find our more about the exhibition by visiting www.exetercontemporaryopen.com.
Here’s more of our coverage of the Exeter Contemporary Open
top image: Stryker by Sara Berman