Despite a general lack of noise about the arts in the run up to the next general election, internationally renowned ceramicist Kate Malone, one of the selectors for this year’s Marshwood Arts Awards, made a powerful statement when describing the exhibition currently showing at Bridport Arts Centre. ‘For me community is everything’ she said. ‘And this illustrates that the creative community is alive and kicking.’
The exhibition, chosen by Kate, along with John Makepeace, Dave White, Tania Kovats and Brian Griffin certainly illustrates the breadth of talent that exists within the local and wider art world, but it also highlights why arts and culture strengthens communities.
Exhibitions such as this bring a diverse range of people together. Artists, makers, art lovers and those simply seeking an extra dimension to their lives, come together to see, feel, experience and enhance their world. They also gather to celebrate and support a shared need to explore and innovate. Without that compelling, dynamic force the world may be a bland and robotic place.
When choosing the artists that she wanted to include in this years show, Kate Malone explained that she had chosen ‘traditional craft, emotional expression, art into interior design, beautiful restrained intelligence, fun and energetic assemblages and expression of wondrous technical skills.’ Such a powerful comment on what the human race can achieve.
Dave White, who chose exhibitors for the painting and drawing category, highlighted the ‘unique distinctive style’ of the work he viewed. He, like all of the selectors, strives to push forward with his own work and the diversity of his selections highlights yet again how potent simple brush strokes can be in mirroring our innermost thoughts and feelings. His choice of Gary Goodman’s ‘At the Zoo’ painting was also chosen by Jasper Conran as his favourite piece in the show.
John Makepeace chose Nesta Davies’ beautiful book-binding work and stressed the value of traditional crafts. Nesta’s work features textures using silks, suedes, woven fabrics and fine Japanese paper. The tactile nature of her work begs to be touched and handled, something Nesta encourages.
Brian Griffin, whose iconic photographs are often an unconscious backdrop to many generations chose Charmouth based photographer Cate Field as the winner in his category. Cate uses multiple layers to create collages that, as she explained ‘become metaphors for the paradox of urban living.’ Ordinary people, doing ordinary things become a kaleidoscope of colour.
Tania Kovats, who chose work for the Sculpture category expressed how sculpture challenges how we occupy space, and asks what are we made of. She described work by her winner, Barbara Ash as: ‘Stunning work, perplexing, awkward, confrontational sculptures to dream about as well as stand beside. This work wrestles with all the right questions a sculpture should.’
Kate Hubbard, who presented this year’s John Hubbard Prize to ceramic artist Björk Haraldsdóttir echoed the thoughts of the other selectors about the diversity and quality of work on display. She said her late father would have been tremendously enthused by the exhibition and the range of art available to enjoy.
Sibyl King, founder of the Fine Family Foundation, which has been hugely supportive of creative and environmental projects all along the Jurassic Coast, chose the work of Alexandra Pullen as her Collector’s Choice. Alexandra cites ‘the great and irresistible capacity of the natural world and the tangled threads that connect humankind’ as her inspiration for what are intriguing, beautiful and delicate works.
With over 200 people attending the launch of this year’s exhibition there are signs that indeed, the creative world is definitely alive and kicking.
The Marshwood Arts Awards and John Hubbard Prize exhibition is open at the Allsop Gallery, Bridport Arts Centre until December 7.
Visit www.bridport-arts.com for opening times.
For more information about the Marshwood Arts Awards and John Hubbard Prize visit www.marshwoodawards.com