IN its tenth year, the New Light Prize Exhibition will open at Scarborough Art Gallery on September 19 for its biggest show yet.
Work by more than 100 contemporary northern artists will be on show until January 17 2021, their artwork ranging from “the hyper-real to the purely abstract” across a range of media by artists at all stages of their career.
Rebekah Tadd, New Light’s development director, says: “We’re delighted by the positive reception to the 2020 New Light Prize Exhibition. It’s one of the few open art competitions able to continue this year due to its predominantly online nature and the collaboration of our partner galleries.
“With over 2,000 entries, the judges had a tremendous challenge. Their shortlist features 125 artworks from 105 of the most talented artists in the UK, making this our biggest exhibition ever and giving a unique insight into contemporary northern art.”
Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic presenting “huge challenges and hardships to the whole of the UK and particular challenges for the art world”, Rebekah says: “We’re very fortunate that Scarborough Art Gallery was the first gallery in the country to devise a Covid-secure visitor experience, enabling us to open the exhibition to the public while operating within Government guidelines.
“In order to make the exhibition available to those unable to attend the gallery in person, we’re working to ensure that we share as much as possible through online sources.
“We aim to enhance visitor enjoyment by providing as much information as possible about the artists and their work to enable them to make informed decisions if they wish to purchase art work.”
Simon Hedges, head of curation, collections and exhibitions at Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “This brilliant exhibition will showcase a wide range of media and styles from a diverse range of artists at all stages of their career. The very essence of the North shines through the unique qualities of our region’s artists and the physical as well as notional spaces they occupy.”
The New Light Prize Exhibition is open to artists who were born, live or have studied in one of the historic counties of the North of England (Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumberland, Westmorland, County Durham and Northumberland).
Shortlisting took place over the summer, with a panel comprising printmaker and artist Anne Desmet, RA Magazine editor Sam Phillips, Huddersfield Art Gallery curator Grant Scanlan and New Light chair Annette Petchey.
Annette says: “The calibre of work being produced by the region’s artists has, once again, underlined the wealth of talent the North of England attracts and nurtures. While the very high standard made the judging task incredibly difficult, it also affirmed the rationale for the New Light Prize.”
The competition winners will be announced at a private view on September 18. Prizes include the £10,000 Valeria Sykes Award, open to all artists over 18 with a connection to the North of England, and the £2,500 Patron’s Choice Award, presented that night.
After its Scarborough launch show, the New Light Prize Exhibition will move on to Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle and The Bankside Gallery in London.
Established in 2010, New Light not only celebrates and promotes well-known and emerging artists by offering awards and opportunities with the biennial open exhibition, but also runs New Light Art For All, an education programme that combines talks, workshops and school projects.
In addition, the New Light Collection will be launched next spring with the aim of making the best northern visual arts available to more people by loaning pieces free of charge to public bodies and charities.
“The common thread through everything New Light does is a deep belief that the visual arts matter and the North of England deserves to be celebrated,” says Annette. “New Light is run by a dedicated group of people who are passionate about the visual arts in the north. It relies entirely on donations and sponsorship.”
For more information on New Light, go to: newlight-art.org.uk