The Northern Art Prize Exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery

Art.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, is it?

And that’s fine; if you’ve genuinely given it a go and you just don’t enjoy looking at it then don’t force yourself. But on the other hand, if you’ve never tried it, then don’t deny yourself a great experience and a chance to try something a bit different at lunchtime, or on a Saturday afternoon.

Last night I went to the opening night of the Northern Art Prize exhibition atLeedsArtGallery. It was a lovely night and a great chance to see some works by the nominated artists.

One of the pieces I spent the most time looking at was this one by one of the nominees James Hugonin:

Binary Rhythm (III) 2009-2011, James Hugonin

This work is one of 4 that each took Hugonin a year to prepare. If you look at this close up, you can see that it’s made up of tiny little rectangles, done on a meticulously measured pencil grid.

A close up of a reproduction

Although it’s very intricate in design – the artist planned in impressive detail where each colour would go – the initial impression is that of bathroom tiles. But spend a few minutes looking at it and it’s so soothing. It rests your mind and clears it in a really delightful way.

My favourite piece of the bunch was Horizon (Leeds) by Leo Fitzmaurice. It’s made up of a collection of 19th and early 20th century pieces that were already held by Leeds Art Gallery, that have been lined up so that they look like one long picture, moving across the room from day to night. It looks beautiful, and was really refreshing compared to some of the more modern, abstract contributions to the exhibition. It was like a fresh take on some classic images, and was my absolute highlight of the night.

Horizon (Leeds) 2011, Leo Fitzmaurice

A closer look at the first three pictures

The other two finalists were Richard Rigg, whose work is almost funny in its quirkiness, and Liadin Cooke, who I would say was the least accessible but the most intriguing.

Miserable Object, 2011, Liadin Cooke

The exhibition is on at Leeds Art Galleryuntil February 19th so do go have a look at the artists’ work and let me know what you think!

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