Artists invited to consider visions of the present and future for 2017 Plymouth Contemporary

The world’s turbulent social and political landscape is among the potential themes artists are being invited to consider for the 2017 Plymouth Contemporary.

Following a successful launch in 2015, which attracted entries from across the world, submissions for the second staging of the exhibition are now being invited with prizes of up to £2,500 on offer.

Any entries must be within the theme of visions, inviting artists to explore what the concept might mean for us now – from the political and social, to alternative realities and other dimensions, imaginary or absurd, utopian or dystopian, concrete or literal.

The 2017 Plymouth Contemporary is a partnership between the University of Plymouth, the Plymouth History Centre and KARST, the largest independent, artist-led contemporary art venue in the city.

Successful submissions will be featured in a dual-site exhibition taking place from July 15 to September 02 at the University’s Peninsula Arts Gallery and at KARST’s gallery space.

Dr Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts, said:

“Following the hugely successful first Plymouth Contemporary, we hope this exhibition will continue on a trajectory to become a beacon for showcasing emerging talent and new perspectives within contemporary art. The aim is for it to become a major event within the national arts calendar, with a finger on the pulse of the latest developments and an eye on the next generation of artists.”

Nicola Moyle, Head of Arts and Heritage, Plymouth City Council, said:

“The first Plymouth Contemporary highlighted a fantastic combination of up and coming and established artists - and I'm sure that 2017 will be no different. Plymouth is really upping its game with the visual arts and it's an exciting time to be part of the city's ever-improving cultural offer. The History Centre is proud to support the 2017 Plymouth Contemporary and we're looking forward to seeing the wide range of submissions that come in for this year's exhibition.”

Carl Slater, Director of KARST, said:

“Plymouth is receiving a great amount of attention from international artists and curators. The contemporary visual arts ecology has developed considerably over the last five years and now plays a significant role in the culture of the city. We are pleased to be able to co-host the Plymouth Contemporary, providing a unique platform for artists who are working to push boundaries of contemporary art practice.”

In its first year, the Plymouth Contemporary attracted over 1200 submissions, with 450 being shortlisted to go before an acclaimed selection panel of curators, art directors, artists and professionals. Twenty-four works from artists and collaborations working across Britain, Ireland, Europe, Japan and Australia made the final exhibition.

For 2017, artists have until Friday 03 March to complete their submissions, and these will be judged by a panel of experts comprising:

  • Professor Chris Bennewith (Head of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Plymouth);
  • Ben Borthwick (Artistic Director, Plymouth Arts Centre);
  • Dr Sarah Chapman (Artist and Director of Peninsula Arts);
  • Louise Coysh, Director of Art and Culture, University of Southampton;
  • Judith Robinson (Arts and Cultural Development Manager, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery);
  • Carl Slater (Artist and Director of KARST).
Successful applicants will be notified if their work will feature in the exhibition before Easter. Those artists will then be in with a chance of winning one of four awards, with three of them – the Overall Award (£2,500), Special Recognition Award (£1,000) and New Artist Award (£1,000) – to be presented on the opening night, while the Audience Choice Award (£500) will be announced in the final week of exhibition.

Bram Thomas Arnold, the winner of the Audience Choice Award in 2015, said:

“Winning the award invigorated my practice at a key time, and being involved in the Plymouth Contemporary Open raised my profile on a regional and national level, enhancing my network and enabling me to step out of academia and into the art world. Since winning the competition I have completed my PhD, exhibited work in the UK and abroad with the support of the British Council and am in conversation with several publishers regarding my practice.”

Plymouth Contemporary 2017

The 2017 Plymouth Contemporary, themed Visions, will run from 15 July to 2 September 2017 across the two venues of Peninsula Art Gallery and KARST. Artists were asked to respond to the theme ‘Visions’, a pertinent subject at a time when the world, on the surface at least, seems to be going through turbulent change. 

Awards

The awards will be chosen by a selection panel of curators, art directors, artists and professionals whose finger is on the pulse regarding the latest developments and will be presented on the opening night. The awards on offer are:

Plymouth Contemporary award sponsored by Artmill Gallery and Framing Centre: £2,500

Special recognition award sponsored by Bond Dickinson: £1,000

New artist award sponsored by Francis May Favata, sculptress : £1,000

Audience choice award: £500 (to be announced in the final week of the exhibition).

Submissions and selection process

The selection panel includes Ben Borthwick (Artistic Director, Plymouth Arts Centre), Sarah Chapman (Director, Peninsula Arts and artist), Judith Robinson (Arts and Cultural Development Manager, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery), Carl Slater (Director, KARST and artist), Professor Chris Bennewith, Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture at Plymouth University and Louise Coysh, Director of Arts and Culture, University of Southampton; they will  be particularly looking for submissions that clearly reflect this year’s theme.

Find out more about the 2017 selection panel.

Applications open: Monday 16 January, 9:00

Applications close: Friday 3 March, midnight

Judging commences: Monday 20 March

Successful applicants informed: Thursday 30 March

Please note applications are now closed. 

Works featured in the Plymouth Contemporary 2015

  • 'Crouching Billionaire Ghost'

    Paul Vivian

    'Crouching Billionaire Ghost'
  • 'Gleaming Portico'

    Chloe Brooks

    'Gleaming Portico'
  • 'Portrait of Jean-Claude Duvalier' and '25 May 1980'

    Dan Beard

    'Portrait of Jean-Claude Duvalier' and '25 May 1980'
  • 'For the Roses' and 'For Freedom'

    Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski

    'For the Roses' and 'For Freedom'
  • 'Brick to Bone on a Luke Warm Plane'

    Harriet Bowman

    'Brick to Bone on a Luke Warm Plane'
  • 'A Shipment for a Massive Baby'

    Tim Foxon

    'A Shipment for a Massive Baby'
  • 'Life Before Colour #1 and #2'

    David Morgan-Davies

    'Life Before Colour #1 and #2'
  • 'Departure'

    Ailbhe Ni Bhriain

    'Departure'
  • 'A Brutal Story'

    Jessie Brennan

    'A Brutal Story'
  • 'The Visitor' and 'Invisible Ceiling'

    Naomi Frears

    'The Visitor' and 'Invisible Ceiling'
  • 'How to Walk'

    Bram Thomas Arnold

    'How to Walk'
  • 'Antinous/Acrobats' and 'VINVS FOGGINI / SCVPSIT FLO / RENTIAE / 1749'

    Steven Paige

    'Antinous/Acrobats' and 'VINVS FOGGINI / SCVPSIT FLO / RENTIAE / 1749'