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Arnolfini - est 1961

NATIONAL OPEN ART EXHIBITION 14 July -26 august galleries one and two

Organized by TSW – Television South West and South West Arts, with prizes sponsored by National Westminster Bank, this exhibition is the first of a series of biennial events which offer visual artists new opportunities for their work to be seen and appreciated. Sixty paintings were selected from over 2,400 works submitted from all over the United Kingdom, and despite the difficulties inherent in the process, the selectors, John Bellany, Jennifer Durrant, William Packer, Terry Setch and Phillip Wright have produced an exhibition both of current concerns and future potential.

Some of the artists selected, Paula Rego, Timothy Hyman, Karl Weschke and Maggi Hambling, have been seen in past exhibitions at Arnolfini, and the exhibition offers the opportunity to see their recent work. Others, including prize winners Mary Mabbutt and Christopher Stevens will be seen for the first time, and the exhibition provides a fine opportunity for talent spotting.

Of the six prize winners, Barrie Cook, Glyn Jones and Derek Roberts work in an abstract vein, although it is interesting to note that titles to their paintings, Journey to Harlech, Golgotha, and Through Winter Trees are highly suggestive, even romantic in tone. The three other prizewinners Mary Mabbutt, Paula Rego and Christopher Stevens are figurative painters with a fine sense of composition and detail. This balance between abstraction and figuration is reflected in the exhibition as a whole. Although the character of much of the work is dark, brooding and often violent, as in the ‘expressionist’ paintings of Jack Shotbolt and Franzlska Kalvelage, moments of lyrical calm and humour are achieved in works by Brian Peacock, Tricia Gillman and Ben Hartley. The exhibition reveals the diversity of idioms current in British painting, and offers an insight into some of the ideas which contemporary artists are pursuing. Rupert Martin coordinator.

A 48 page catalogue which includes a black and white reproduction of every painting in the exhibition and 6 colour reproductions of the prize winners’ work, will be on sale in the bookshop, price £3.

In addition, a 60 page booklet containing essays by Andrew Higgens, Melvyn Bragg, John Wyver, Nigel Finch, Nick Levinson and Tamara Krikorian, on the subject of BROADCAST TELEVISION AND THE VISUAL ARTS, published to coincide with the exhibition will be available price £1.

Many of the paintings will be for sale. If you are interested in purchasing, please contact Claire Anderson in the gallery office.

A video tape of the programme “Next One Please”, which explores the responses of five artists, and the nature of the selection process involved in making this exhibition, and which was broadcast on TSW – Television South West on 13 June, will be available in the video library. Thanks go to TSW – Television South West and South West Arts for making this possible.

Arnolfini would like to thank all those involved in producing the exhibition, and especially Jonathan Harvey, Arts Consultant, TSW – Television South West; Tony Foster, Visual Arts Officer. South West Arts and Mike Collier, Exhibition Organizer.