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Exhibition shines a light on Cumbrian artistic talent



After a successful northern tour and a show at London’s Bankside Gallery, New Light: The Fourth Biennial Prize Exhibition has opened at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle.


The exhibition's eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings celebrates contemporary artists at all stages of their career, from emerging talent to esteemed Royal Academicians, and from all corners of the North of England.


Emerson Mayes, CEO New Light said: "I’ve had the privilege of being involved with New Light since its conception and in a variety of roles, such as an artists’ mentor, a committee member, a board member and now as CEO, so have witnessed at first hand the charity’s growth.


"This year’s New Light Prize Exhibition has been by far, our largest yet – with more artists, more venues and more education work and I’m looking forward to seeing it visit Cumbria for the first time this Autumn.


"One of the thrills of the tour is seeing the exhibition hung in a variety of venues and I’m confident Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect venue to highlight the wealth of artistic talent we have in the north of England. 


"As a working artist myself I understand how important such exposure is to all those selected for this year’s Prize Exhibition."


Cumbrian born or based artists Alan Stones, Jan Huntley-Peace (who won the New Light Purchase Prize), Mark Gibbs, Rachel Gibson and Sally-Marie Gardner feature in the work selected for the Tullie House Gallery exhibition.


Alan Stones, who has exhibited widely across Cumbria since moving to the county in the 1982 says: “I have loved having my work in the New Light Art Prize Exhibitions.


"As an artist I want, more than anything, to have my work seen - by that I mean displayed sympathetically with good lighting and in front of a large audience. This is exactly what New Light achieves with its exhibitions in some of the best galleries in the North of England.


"This exhibition includes a fantastic collection of contemporary painting, drawing and printmaking and I’m looking forward to seeing how my own paintings hold-up in such great company.”


Our Cumbrian artists are indeed in good company. Fellow exhibitors include Royal Academicians Anne Desmet RA and Norman Ackroyd RA CBE. Works on display will include Justin Coburn’s beautifully executed ‘Dreaming Hare’, Glen Ibbitson’s figurative ‘Human Bridge’, Neil Bousfield, whose atmospheric wood engravings capture the essence of the English landscape, Anja Percival whose etchings explore the different ‘moods’ of light, Isobel Peachey, the youngest woman commissioned to paint an official portrait of The Queen and Tom Wood, an acclaimed artist whose portrait sitters have included Professor Lord Robert Winston and Alan Bennett, both commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London.


In total, 72 artists were selected to take part the 4th Biennial Prize Exhibition. Selected artists were chosen from over 2200 entries by an impressive line-up of judges: contemporary artist Charming Baker; renowned art critic and writer, Frances Spalding CBE; CEO of the Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary, Thom Hetherington; Chief Executive of York Museums Trust, Reyahn King; Director of Northern Print, Anna Wilkinson and CEO of New Light and practising artist, Emerson Mayes.


The exhibition is on until 27 January 2019.

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