Staffs artists celebrated in exhibition

"Since 2013, our graduates have, year on year, continually achieved success within the New Art West Midlands project. This has brought important early career opportunities, and supported our graduates to make significant connections across the region."

Anna Francis, Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice

Artists from Staffordshire University have been handpicked to display their work in an exhibition championing new talent.

New Art West Midlands features artwork from graduates in the region including painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, print and installation.

Over 130 people applied to take part and a panel of established artists and curators selected 28 successful candidates, including three recent BA (Hons) Fine Art graduates from Staffordshire University – Keri Jayne, Louise Hampson and Lewis Pritchard.

The exhibition is being shown across three venues in the Midlands including Hanley’s Air Space Gallery making New Art West Midlands the largest showcase of its type in the region.

On show at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry will be 148 framed line-drawings (pictured) by  mature student Keri Jayne. The work illustrates news stories from the front pages of national newspapers and social media feeds, calling into question the issue of fake news and how it is fabricated.

Keri said: “Being chosen to take part is the icing on the cake after achieving a first class honours degree and shows recognition of all the hard work that I had put in to becoming an artist later on in my life.

“Being involved in NAWM has allowed me to meet important curators and artistic talent within the West Midlands and has given me a sense of artistic life beyond university.”

Keri was joined by Louise and Lewis at the show's opening in Birmingham this month where five artists and alumni of the New Art West Midlands exhibition were also awarded coveted residencies with the National Trust.

Among them is Staffordshire University graduate Lindy Brett who featured in last year's exhibition and has won an artist's residency at Ilam Park in Derbyshire.

She said: “I'm delighted to have been awarded one of the National Trust short residencies. In my practice I look at science and technology in the landscape, and my plan for Ilam Park is to explore the Trust's project of re-naturalising the river Dove. This will be a great opportunity for me to consolidate my practise and get experience of working with a large organisation.”

Now in its sixth year, New Art West Midlands has established itself as an important aid in developing the careers of artists. Previous exhibitors have seen their work purchased for the national Art Council Collection and have gone on to achieve solo exhibitions in respected galleries.

Anna Francis, Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice at Staffordshire University, said: “Since 2013, our graduates have, year on year, continually achieved success within the New Art West Midlands project. This has brought important early career opportunities, and supported our graduates to make significant connections across the region.

“We are so pleased to see our brilliant graduates being recognised in this prestigious exhibition, well done to Keri, Louise, Lewis and Lindy.”

The exhibition can be seen at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 15 Feb – 13 May, AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent 23 Feb – 31 March and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry 24 Feb – 13 May 2018. Find more information here - http://newartwestmidlands.co.uk/

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