The 2018 edition of New Art West Midlands has opened at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, with six of this year’s exhibitors and two recent alumni awarded prizes and residencies.

Running every year since its launch in 2013, New Art West Midlands is part of the CVAN network and showcases the work of recent graduates from six art schools in the region: Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton, and University of Worcester.

The 2018 edition features works by 28 artists and as well as the Birmingham show there will be exhibitions at Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on Trent and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. The exhibiting artists were selected by Patricia Fleming of Fleming Projects, Glasgow; Liverpool Biennial curator Sinead McCarthy; and artist and photographer Ingrid Pollard.

In partnership with Trust New Art, the Birmingham launch saw five artists receive mini-residencies at five different National Trust properties. The programme, which is open to alumni as well as current exhibitors, awards the artists a fee of £1,000 to develop new experimental work inspired by the historic buildings.

Three of the selected artists are 2018 exhibitors: Larissa E Shaw, Aileen Doherty and Grace A Williams are all graduates of Birmingham City University and will be resident at The Firs in Worcestershire, Attingham Park in Shropshire, and Mr Straw’s House in Nottinghamshire, respectively.

2017 alumni Lindy Brett, a graduate from Staffordshire University, will be hosted at Ilam Park in Derbyshire, while 2016 exhibitor Theo Ellison, a graduate of Coventry University, will head to Coughton Court in Warwickshire.

“We’re delighted to be working with the National Trust in this way, offering brilliant opportunities for artists to gain vital experience right at the start of their careers,” said Craig Ashley, director, New Art West Midlands.

Cass Art has also awarded £250 of art supplies to University of Worcester graduate Nicola Arnold, and Jez Dolan and Olivia Peake, both recent graduates of Birmingham City University. Peake, whose painting installation is being exhibited at Airspace Gallery, uses colour and light to create sculptures that are ‘sensory environments of reflective surfaces’.

Showing at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with 11 other artists, including Dolan and Shaw, Doherty’s installations reference scientific research and the laws of nature. “I’m concerned specifically with how these natural processes can be used as production rules for creating artworks,” she says.

Williams, who originally exhibited in the inaugural New Art West Midlands 2013 exhibition, returns with works from her practice-led PhD study, shown at the Herbert alongside Arnold and seven further artists. Her work focuses on the visual representation of women.

New Art West Midland 2018 takes place at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (16 Feb – 6 May 2018), AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent (23 Feb – 31 March 2018) and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry (24 Feb – 13 May 2018)

1. Olivia Peake, Emergence (Painting one), 2016. Photo:; Courtesy: New Art West Midlands
2. New Art West Midlands 2018 artists. Courtesy: New Art West Midlands
3. Nicola Arnold, Subtract White Plan. Courtesy: New Art West Midlands
4. Aileen Doherty, Dark Matter, 2017. Courtesy: New Art West Midlands
5. Larissa E Shaw, Flesh Party, 2017, installation view. Courtesy: New Art West Midlands
6. Artwork by Jez Dolan. Courtesy: New Art West Midlands

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