Last chance left to see the Jerwood Makers Open, at Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

The following blog post is by Isla Haddow who is studying a BA in Fine Art at De Montfort University, Leicester, and has completed a work placement with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

The Jerwood Makers Open is part of Jerwood Visual Arts, a contemporary gallery programme of awards, exhibitions and events at the Jerwood Space, London. The Jerwood Makers Open – now in its second year- tours nationally, and is being held here at the Shipley Art Gallery, with works by emerging artists: Nao Matsunaga, James Rigler, William Shannon, Louis Thompson and Silvia Weidenbach.

Nao Matsunaga, ‘Palace of Coming and Going’, 2012

The artists in this show were shortlisted; they responded to an open proposal rather than a set, unambiguous brief which could carry expectations of a theme, process, material or other expectations. The five artists have simply used their mind’s eye and creativity.

All five of these chosen artists span across different disciplines; which I found creates a show which is full of great energy, and a sense of exploration, forcing connections across many visual art disciplines in the hope of provoking conversation.

Visitors have particularly enjoyed the works by Louis Thompson (above)I also love these pieces; my initial speculation on the materials and processes behind these art works was especially what intrigued me. I find them fascinating and also peaceful pieces of art to observe.

'Hive' by Louis Thompson

I understand that the Shipley Art Gallery are planning to buy this work for the collection through their Northern Rock Craft Acquisition Fund.

Shonagh Manson, Director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, which runs Jerwood Visual Arts and Jerwood Makers Open, states:

There are number of big questions and issues that are likely to engage the applied arts sector in coming years. Within this exhibition alone are new works which engage with a range of those challenges; with localism and production, with digital design and the concept of uniqueness, and with the potential of the hand-made, the abstract and the sculptural in craft.”

 This exhibition is diverse in aesthetic terms but connected through the ways in which the artists manipulate their materials to create their art works. I can relate this show to one of my favourite practitioners today – British sculptor Phyllida Barlow. Her practice reflects this very concept that the nature of the materials underpin the ideas communicated.

Shonagh Manson further states “…this diverse group were connected by a deep sensitivity to the ways in which material – glass, ceramic, enamel, plastics – can be stretched, manipulated, even subverted to produce extraordinary works.”

This exhibition closes on the 6th July, 2013 – Don’t miss this great show!

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