The Derbyshire Open Art Competition is in its 32nd year and we will be taking in entries here at the museum this Friday and Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm from both amateur and professional artists. We welcome you to enter; unlike most other art competitions it’s free. More information can be found on our website http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/buxton_museum/derbyshire_open/default.asp
Each year we invite artists to capture aspects of life and landscape in Derbyshire, illustrating what the county means to them. There are several prizes to be won. The winner of The Derbyshire Trophy is a purchase prize and goes into the County’s art collection, should the artist wish to sell it, of course. We tend to get lots of landscapes, which is fine but it is always interesting to see the variety of ways people can interpret Derbyshire. I’ve picked out some of the more unusual entries from recent years. Please note that these images have copyright and if you wish to use them for any reason, please email us first at firstname.lastname@example.org
Countless small clay farm animals made by tiny hands from the Artbox Artclubs feature in this entry called Field – Homage to Antony Gormley. It is a charming piece, playfully reminiscent of the work of the famous sculptor, and quite rightly won the Munro Trophy (prize for an artist under the age of 22) in 2013.
The Derbyshire Open is not always about the place but sometimes people from the place, as this 2013 award-winning portrait of Sir Barnes Wallis by Jemma Webster demonstrates. Wallis was a scientist and engineer from Ripley, most famous for inventing the bouncing bomb used by The Dambusters. Not only is it pleasing to the eye but it also acknowledges an important figure from the county’s past.
Derbyshire can be controversial. This entry by Jeff Perks won The Friends of Buxton Museum Sculpture prize in 2011. It is entitled Do We Need Another Supermarket? and it forces us to consider the corporate strategy of a certain supermarket chain and how it changes the landscape around us. It is perhaps not unfair to say it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but nonetheless bold and challenging.
Although I can always appreciate the naturally-formed dramatic panoramas of Derbyshire, I admit to being a bit of a sucker for urban normality. A linocut called Long Row, Belper by Anthea Tassell was commended in 2013 and it is a good example of what I like. I must hasten to add that the competition is always judged by an external independent panel; a policy that allows those of us who work here to avoid the intermittent wrath of those whose work is not accepted!
Some visitors to the exhibition expect to see conventional landscapes, of course, and you can guarantee that there will be at least half-a-dozen. This year, the exhibition starts on Saturday 28 June and finishes on Friday 5 September. We hope that you will visit to see if you agree with the judges. I will leave you with The Farm and Moon by Renata Davis which bagged The Derbyshire County Council & Tarmac Ltd Landscape prize in 2011.