Flourish Award 2017

16th September – 28th October 2017

Established in 2009 to champion printmakers working throughout Yorkshire, Flourish now celebrates work from across the UK, with an exhibition of artists selected from open submission.

The exhibition brings together a wide range of prints made by artists shortlisted for this year’s award, selected by an independent panel of judges. Sumi Perera, artist and winner of Flourish 2015; Yvonne Hardman, Head of Collections and Programmes at Leeds Museums and Galleries; and Grant Scanlon, Huddersfield Museums Manager, have carefully considered artworks submitted from all over the country. Their selection presents a diverse, rich and imaginative group of 12 printmakers to be displayed at WYPW gallery in Mirfield.

The Flourish Award for Excellence in Printmaking 2017 will be announced at our special prize-giving event on Friday 27th October, 6-8pm.

West Yorkshire Print Workshop’s gallery is now filled with a wide range of intriguing pieces from 12 very different artists, all having their own personal interests and motives for producing what they do. Walking around the room one can bounce from a printmaker exploring nature or landscape, to imagery based on psychological tensions to someone who responds to music and modern technology. Together, the prints work wondrously to create an extremely rounded and enjoyable gallery experience.

On the first wall to the left of the gallery entrance are three etchings by Sarah Duncan, an artist who is “drawn to phenomena that appear on the surface to be constant and uniform but on further inspection reveal themselves to be unique”. She writes of her fascination with the beauty within science and her attraction to the intangible; how science allows us to see glimpses of the formerly unseeable.

Personally, I love how Duncan creates this sense of enormity in her etchings. The backgrounds are a very intense, dark, block black with these delicate shapes hinting at newly forming landscapes emerging from them like light. After reading Sarah Duncan’s statement in the exhibition catalogue, it’s very clear how the artist’s residency in Iceland has inspired and pushed forward her interest in the forces that influence all the constantly shifting landscapes on our forever changing planet.

Melanie King is another artist who is interested in forces beyond our control; she explores the wonders beyond our planet and how they connect with our human relationship with earth. King’s fascination with space actually originates from a childhood anxious phobia of the giganticness that exists out in space, but later in life she managed to break through this mental block. Now, the artist’s fear has become more of an obsession and she is able to produce fantastic work by embracing her passion. I am a firm believer that often the best work can come from the darkest place. I believe that in the place deep down, where we hide our tensions and fears, is perhaps where our true individuality lies.

I was attracted to the simple and aesthetically pleasing nature of Melanie King’s print on the wall, but when looking closer I found an intensity that made me like it even more.

These are just two of the artists of the many in the exhibition that I’ve really enjoyed having a lovely detailed look at. I think that it’s a very special collection of work, and I’m very glad to have the chance to write about it! I have cast my ‘people’s vote’ but look forwards to finding out which artist will win first prize!

Review by Kitty Cameron, October 2017

The winner of the Flourish Award will receive a 2-week residency at West Yorkshire Print Workshop and the chance to present a solo print exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery in Autumn 2018.

The judges will also award prizes to highly commended artists in the exhibition, kindly donated by Great Art, Jackson’s Art Supplies, Intaglio Printmaker, RK Burt & Co, Awagami Papers (Japan) and Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to select their own favourite for our People’s Choice Award, which will be announced at the end of the exhibition. The exhibition opens on Saturday 16th September and runs until 28th October.

Shortlisted artists for the Flourish Award 2017 are:

David Armes, Jess Bugler, Ji Yue Deng, Sarah Duncan, Tracy Hill, Clare Hynds, Melanie King, Pierre Antoine Martin, Liz K Miller, Clare Phelan, Roy Willingham, Susan Wright.

Amy-Jane Blackhall, winner of the Flourish Award 2016, is presenting her work at Huddersfield Art Gallery from October – January and will give an insight into her practice on Saturday 21st October 12.30-1.00pm.