Galleries - September 2014

established event in its 27th year, is of consistently fine quality while Cynthia Corbett's exhibitions always unearth intriguing new, young faces. A dynamic figure, she is this year adding to her workload with a Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize – same time, same place . . . Top o’ The North New Lights , a North of England charity supporting talented artists in the region, is venturing down to the supercilious South to demonstrate to its often unadventurous critics the quality of work being produced 'up there'. Initially helping emerging artists in particular it has broadened its scope by including more established figures, who often find it no less difficult to prosper in the often over- dominant South-East. The London show reflects this change of tack by showcasing six of the North's top artists, Norman Ackroyd, Emerson Mayes and Mark Demsteader among them, alongside six rising stars from their biennial competition. In short a really worthwhile enterprise. showcasing the very best work created in pencil” (including charcoal, pastel and coloured pencils) and they now aim at an international entry. With judges of the calibre of Kate Macfarlane of The Drawing Room and Anita Taylor, co-founder of the Jerwood Drawing Prize, this is one that is also on an upward curve. Co-incidentally the widely respected Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014 (from 17 September) also opens that week – 51 works by 46 artists covering a broad interpretation of what constitutes a drawing – from pencil to video! Starting life 20 years ago as the Rexel Derwent Open Drawing Competition, it has changed many dismissive attitudes to drawing over that period. The other 'big hitter' opening this month – £35k+ of prize money – is the Threadneedle Prize at the Mall Galleries (from 25September). As its subtitle 'Figurative Art Today' suggests, the subtext here is to raise the profile of figuratively-oriented art and, to this end, the exhibition has had some significant format changes, notably by inviting a group of UK and international artists to show in a 'guest' section. Finally a mention of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition (Mall Galleries) and the latest instalment of Cynthia Corbett Gallery 's excellent, not- for-profit venture, the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 at Lloyds Club. The first of these, a well- 10 GALLERIES SEPTEMBER 2014 ANTENNAE Competition Time With September now well established as marking the beginning of the new season for the art world, it is something of a hot-spot for art prize shows too – six at least – over a wide range of themes and media. Compared to the situation a decade ago when, with the demise of the Hunting Prize, they were still remarkably thin on the ground, this is only to be welcomed by both artists and public. Let's begin with the National Open Art exhibition NOA (from 19 September) which, given its start in the late 1990s as the 'Chichester Open', has steadily developed into a competition with, as its name and sizable prize-money (over £50k in all) suggests, national ambitions. To this end, over the last few years, NOA has started showing in London as well as Chichester, this time moving from the Royal College of Art to Somerset House, where it will be opened by no less an art world heavyweight than Antony Gormley. More on NOA 14 next month, but it always provides a good platform for the younger end of the art world to show what it can do, so do go and see it asap. Meanwhile the Derwent Art Prize (15-20 September)) has also gone on to bigger things with total prize money (from the Cumberland Pencil Company) now £12,650. The intention is “to reward excellence through from left: Lisa Wright ‘After the Misdeed’ at NOA/Somerset House. Josie Jenkins ‘Wasteland Collage’ courtesy of the artist at New Lights/Mall Galleries. Sally Taylor ‘Confused Head with Triangles & Circle’ at Derwent Art Prize/Mall Galleries