Royal Pump Rooms
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Report by Faye, web producer
Open Exhibitions that show work by local artists, selected by a panel, are a fantastic way for little-known artists to launch themselves into prestigious galleries. And usually that’s their main function. The Leamington Open 2004, however, has gone one step further; it’s also a great exhibition.
Upholding a reputation
Taking a risk with Boxing Rhino by Terry Webster
The Art Gallery & Museum at the Royal Pump Rooms has a great reputation for original and challenging exhibitions and their Open is no exception.
Open exhibitions have been held by the gallery since the 1930s but they are kept right up-to-date with a changing series of selectors.
In 2004, the works were chosen by Nick Slater, Visual Arts Officer of Arts Council England, Deirdre Figueiredo, Curator at Craftspace Touring, and celebrated local painter, Harry Weinberger.
Click the images button below to see highlights from the show's launch party and to see some of the selected works and winners.
Detail of Uncle Stilton Takes a Lover, mixed media work by Tom Lewis
The exhibition also accepts entries from any professional West Midlands’ artists, rather than remaining strictly local, which creates a wider variety and may contribute to them achieving the very high standard of work on show. And all the work has to have been completed after January 2003, so it’s fresh.
You can vote for your favourite piece and help the artist win a cool £500 in the ‘People’s Choice’ award. Just go along and fill in a simple form at the gallery to take part.
Luke Skiffington with his winning work, 'Jungle'
The selectors chose two joint winners, who each were awarded £1000.
Nick Slater made the announcement at the launch party, stating the decision was unanimous: “Based on the high level of innovation by both artists.”
The winners were abstract painter Luke Skiffington and video installation artist Grace Ndiritu, both of whom have already got plans for how to spend the prize money.
Luke Skiffington said: “I’ll put the money towards a group exhibition I’m organising in London. I’ve shown in London a few times but this is the first time I’ve ever organised a show – my curatorial debut you could say – so the money will really help.”
Grace Ndiritu with her prize
Grace Ndiritu also plans to put the prize money back into her art work.
She said: “I’m going to use it to fund myself making more new work. I’ve been awarded a studio in London by the Delfina Studio Trust and will be working half there and half here.
"I’m going to be working with the theme of nomadic situations and my dream is to go on a research trip to Africa.”
Leamington Open 2004 details
Royal Pump Rooms, The Parade, Leamington
2 July – 30 August
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10.30-5
For more details follow the link on the top left to the visitor information for the Pumps Rooms.
The next Open in Leamington will be in 2006. If you’d like to enter get in touch with the gallery nearer the time on 01926 742700.