Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2017 winners announced

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10 September 2017 9:36AM

THE winners of the Cumbrian Artist of the Year award have been announced, with two established names sharing the title.

The award ceremony, held at Rheged, launched the C-Art Festival 2017 - 10 days of arts activity across Cumbria, and also opened the Cumbrian Artist of the Year Exhibition at the venue.

Previous nominees for the award Celia Burbush and Brian Shields were named as joint winners this year, having been shortlisted in 2016.

Director of Eden Arts, Adrian Lochhead, said: "It’s great to be able to award the C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year to two deserving winners this year.

"I’m pleased that the panel voted for these artists equally, as it gives us the opportunity to recognise them both.

"Of course it is not just about the selected ‘winner’ in this kind of process, the whole point of the exhibition and award is to highlight the strength and quality of work being produced by artists across the county, in order to show all of that we would need a bigger gallery."

 Artwork by Brian Shields

Artwork by Brian Shields

The winners received £500 cash and a trophy created by Charlie Whinney Studio in Witherslack.

Cockermouth artist Celia Burbush said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have my work spotlighted at Rheged once again. This is the single opportunity in the year for contemporary Cumbrian artists to share and explore with the public, a wide range of subjects, ideas and issues, through the arresting medium of visual art in all its forms."

Brian Shields, who is based in Armathwaite, Carlisle, added: "I'm delighted to be Cumbrian Artist of the Year alongside Celia.

"The exhibition never fails to surprise, showing as it does such a diverse range of artistic practice - conceptual pieces, landscape painting, the abstract to the figurative - all displayed within the same space."

Taken from over 80 entries, the shortlist and winners are selected by a group of six Young Curators aged 20 to 24, who are mentored by Thomas Dukes, curator at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, and Ainslie Roddick, curator at Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow.

Young Curator, Holly Cantley, said: "The level of innovation, experimentation, risk-taking and challenging the traditional was incredibly high and made for a stimulating process during this years selection.

"However, with great deliberation, I believe that my peers and I have chosen two winners who best reflect our vision as a curating body for C-Art and who have most notably exceeded the criteria to gain the title of Cumbrian Artist of the Year."

Now it’s over to the visitors to the exhibition; each visitor can vote for their favourite artist in the exhibition as the ‘People's Choice’. The artist with the most votes when the exhibition draws to a close will be announced on November 5.

The C-Art festival is running at venues across Cumbria until Sunday September 17.

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