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Tom Carter

New Contemporaries Exhibition in Brixton

6 February 2018 Jasmine Lee Kennedy

Since 1949, New Contemporaries, a UK organisation set up to support emerging artists, has provided recent graduates with a stepping stone in to the visual arts sector through a variety of platforms, including an annual, open-submission exhibition. The exhibition has this year moved to Block 336 in Brixton, London, and will be open to the public 27 January – 3 March.

Every year, submissions are selected by an esteemed panel of luminaries, some of whom were once a part of the exhibition themselves. For this year’s exhibition, works have been chosen by Caroline Achaintre, Elizabeth Price and George Shaw. Together, they narrowed down their submissions to 47 artists, all of whom have truly deserved their selection. As a means of combatting the established hierarchies that have become present within the art school system, New Contemporaries submissions are sent anonymously so that the selection process is entirely unbiased, with alumni including David Hockney, Damien Hirst and Susan Hiller. The true beauty of the New Contemporaries’ ethos shines through this year’s exhibition, with an impressive range of talents and materials on display, including paintings, drawings, photography, textiles, film, installations and sculpture.
 
This year artists include: Raen Barnsley, Calum Bowden, Eleanor Breeze, Christy Burdock, Robbie Campbell, Neil Carroll, Sofia Caselli, Adam Castle & Ed Twaddle, Tereza Červeňová, Sarah Cockings & Harriet Fleuriot, Declan Colquitt, José R. Cordeiro, Jake Elwes, Darek Fortas, Rufus Roma Genn, Matthew Gough, Thomas Greig, Tom Hatton, Caitlin Hazell, Gabriella Hirst, Jack Howell Evans, Hettie James, Jack Killick, Carla Lavin, James Laycock, Gal Leshem, Melissa Magnuson, Lucy Mayes, Amanda Moström, Rhona Mühlebach, Nathan Roy Newton, Robbie O'Keeffe, Irvin Pascal, Katarzyna Perlak, Seth Pimlott, Tom Platt, Glen Pudvine, Maïa Régis, Harriet Rickard, Martin Sekera, Devlin Shea, Felix Treadwell, David Walker Kennedy, Max K. Weaver and Michaela Yearwood-Dan.
 
Throughout the exhibition you’re met with thought-provoking pieces which convey various themes and stories from identity and nature to the unreliability of memory. For example, Melissa Magnuson’s powerful black and white photograph, Greenville, Mississippi. When describing her work, she said, “I find global issues of landscape, power and identity a recurring theme in my practice… [It] becomes an open dialogue as engagement with the communities resides at the core of my practice when constructing the work. The process results in an amalgam of their stories, my story, history and competing elements that blur the past and present state of the narrative.”


Greenville, Mississippi by Melissa Magnuson
 
Another artist to look out for is Tooting-born Michaela Yearwood-Dan who’s art tends to explore the themes of identity, race, culture, class, and nature through a variety of mediums. Her New Contemporaries piece, Springs, beautifully exemplifies her style as she uses oil canvas, depicting plants with thick, brush strokes with a vibrancy which is accentuated by the moody shadowing below and pale pastel background above. There is also a fascinating piece by Amanda Mostrom, who’s bronze swing, held to the ceiling by a synthetic hemp rope, has passersby peering and pondering. The impressive swing is one of three, with the others being made out of sheepskin and wood (although these are not shown at Block 336) and won Mostrom the Acme award, presented by The City and Guilds of London Art School from which she graduated from in 2016.


Spring by Michaela Yearwod-Dan
 
“We are delighted to host the New Contemporaries exhibition at Block 336. The work that visitors will encounter in the show is playful, clever and thought-provoking, whilst being underpinned by theoretical and critical debate. The 47 artists who have been selected to take part each bring their individual practices to what is a rich and diverse collective show.” – Jane Hayes Greenwood, Director, Block 336.
 
New Contemporaries is exhibited at Block 336 in Brixton, London, 27 January – 3 March.
 
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