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New Art West Midlands 2016 exhibition extends to mac for the first time

New Art West Midlands returns in 2016 to showcase exciting new contemporary art produced by recent graduates of five West Midlands art schools. This year mac birmingham join Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the Herbert Gallery & Museum, Coventry, in hosting exhibitions.  80,000 people visited New Art West Midlands 2015.

The four New Art West Midlands exhibitions will open in stages through spring 2016, beginning on Friday 12 February at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and mac birmingham on Saturday 13 February. Visitors can expect a mixture of painting, photography, sculpture, video and installation, in what is a unique opportunity to see the latest developments in contemporary art.

The artists selected to be part of New Art West Midlands 2016 were chosen by a panel of leading figures in the art world: artist and academic Sonia Boyce, artist John Stezaker and Katharine Stout, Head of Programme at ICA, London.

New Art West Midlands offers an insight into the current trends and concerns of contemporary art, and highlights promising artists right at the start of their careers. Five artists will win a cash prize of £1000.

A highlight of New Art West Midlands 2016 are Laura Haycock’s extraordinary self-portraits in which she reclines, nude, in the style of Venus - a reference to Velasquez’s 17th century oil paintings. For the viewer, the images are simultaneously compelling and uncomfortable, a quality also shared in video and installation work by Jack Marder, which examine gluttony in the modern age.

BCU graduate Matt Parker’s audio-visual installation, The Imitation Archive, is exhibited across all four venues. A recent artist-in-residence at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, Parker has traced the history of digital technology from the early computer Colossus at Bletchley Park to the Cloud technology of today.

Themes of heritage and identity are found in many works. Ally Standing’s photographs explore the remains of Birmingham’s Brutalist architectural legacy, whilst Kyle Cartlidge’s paintings of a featureless-head reference his youth growing up in post-industrial Stoke on Trent.

The traditional subject of landscape is represented in New Art West Midlands 2016. At Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Jakki Carey presents a painterly video work, Ís, capturing a glacial lake in Iceland in what appears to be a direct warning from nature about climate change. At mac birmingham, Frederick Hubble’s installation Harvesting dew to make a cup of coffee with is a warm take on the romantic notion of living amidst nature. Meanwhile at Wolverhampton Art Gallery visitors can find Rachel Bint’s photographs of Hengistbury Head in Dorset and Aaron Sehmar’s lone figures in desolate rural and urban settings, both works tinged with a sense of mystery and drama.

New Art West Midlands is organised by Turning Point West Midlands, a network that works to promote and develop contemporary art in the region, hosted by Birmingham City University. With five universities and four venues, with 43 exhibiting artists, the initiative is the largest partnership of its kind in England.

Wendy Law, Director of Turning Point West Midlands, commented: “It is exciting to see just how much New Art West Midlands has grown over the last four years and to be working again with our partners. There is a diverse range of talent and work coming out of our art schools and universities in the West Midlands. New Art West Midlands provides an important opportunity at a crucial point in the careers of these artists, enabling them to have their work displayed in highly respected galleries and to be seen and enjoyed by a wide public.”

This is the fourth edition of New Art West Midlands. The exhibition is seen as a launch vehicle for emerging artists, and those who have featured in previous editions have gone on to enjoy professional success.

Several were included in the autumn 2015 exhibition SALON at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, whilst others have worked with established galleries, including Eastside Projects and Grand Union. An artwork by Lucy Hutchinson was bought for the nation by Arts Council England after her presentation at New Art West Midlands 2014.

See the artists exhibiting at mac here.

New Art West Midlands is supported with funding from the National Lottery by Arts Council England.

For press enquiries please contact Helen Stallard at helen@helenstallard.co.uk.

“It is exciting to see just how much New Art West Midlands has grown over the last four years and to be working again with our partners. There is a diverse range of talent and work coming out of our art schools and universities in the West Midlands. New Art West Midlands provides an important opportunity at a crucial point in the careers of these artists, enabling them to have their work displayed in highly respected galleries and to be seen and enjoyed by a wide public.”

Wendy Law, Director of Turning Point West Midlands