Fill This [Space] – Exhibition in Kettering
Alfred East Art Gallery – Kettering
Around this time of year, the Alfred East Art Gallery normally hosts an exhibition called the ‘Open’, which calls for submissions from the public and judges the work before it is hung.
For this year only, moving away from the norm, the exhibition allowed anyone to submit work, no matter their age. There was only one requirement, the submission had to be a finished size of 30x40cm or 40cm3 for 3D work.
Aptly titled Fill This [Space], there were around 200 submissions, all of which were guaranteed to be hung or displayed in the exhibition. This not only gave everyone a chance to be on display in their local art gallery, but also challenged artists to work within a certain size restriction (something they may not have done before).
I have not had much Art Gallery experience before, so I was very lucky to be involved with submissions. It was a great experience, as so many people felt happy and excited that their work would be seen by others, possibly for the first time. It even gained local news coverage, with the Gallery Officer, Katie Boyce and two local artists featuring on screen.
A completely different style of hang was necessary, due to the amount of submissions. This was no mean feat to pull off, but the results were incredible. The artwork was divided between orientations (portrait and landscape) and 3D work. Otherwise, they intermixed, youth with adult, abstract with photography, oil with pencil.
Once displayed, the work was then judged and the prizes were announced.
Adult winners were;
- 1st ‘Prickly Customer’, Watercolour by Gill Denbigh.
- 2nd ‘A Ramble by the River’, Collage by Jamie Poole.
- 3rd ‘Oak Leaf Vessel’, Used Teabags by Chris Yates.
Youth winners were;
- 1st ‘Rookies Day Off’, Photography by Nico Loach.
- 2nd ‘Multi’, Acrylic by Jessica Berrnico. Jessica was also awarded ‘Most Promising Artist’ by KDAS (Kettering & District Art Society).
- 3rd ‘Festival’, Pen and Watercolour by Georgina Stock.
Alongside their artwork, their prizes were displayed so that the winners were easily identified during the exhibition. A preview evening was held on Thursday 13th April. There was a large turnout with regular faces and newcomers too, a potential pool of future visitors to the Gallery.
As this exhibition was for the people, the people quite rightly had a say too. The People’s Choice winner was voted for by the public who visited the exhibition and the vote closed on 20th May.
Those winners are;
- 1st ‘Faces’, Clay by Michael Wright.
- 2nd ‘Emrys’, Oil by Alexandra Mawby.
- 3rd jointly awarded to ‘Flight of the Crow’, Mixed Media by Jo Archer and ‘Plein Air Lighthouse’, Oil by Jacob Mawby.
An opportunity also arose for Katie to hang some of the collection’s more contemporary pieces in the Long Gallery space in order to compliment the Fill This Space pieces. Just another positive for both the gallery, the artists and most importantly, the visitors.
By Siân Fox, Resilience Syndicate Intern at Kettering Museum