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New Art West Midlands 2015 to unveil the stars of the future

New Art West Midlands 2015 is set to unveil the stars of the future – while Ikon Gallery has a flat-moving surprise up its 50-year-old sleeves. Graham Young reports

Alexandra Darby's Chrysophobia #1 will be on display at The Barber Institute as part of New Art West Midlands 2015

Thirty of the region's best emerging artists will be given an extra boost when the third New Art West Midlands returns in 2015.

For the first time, the showcase will be extended to include Coventry's Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Wolverhampton Art Gallery will again feature works representing techniques as diverse as painting, sculpture, photography, performance, installation and video works from some of the region's most promising artists.

The initiative will exhibit the work of newcomers who have graduated from one of the region's undergraduate and postgraduate fine art degree courses in the past three years at Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester.

The partnership of five universities and four galleries makes New Art West Midlands the largest scheme of its kind in England.

It is backed by Turning Point West Midlands (TPWM), a strategic network featuring artists, artist collectives, curators, galleries, museums, universities, agencies and businesses which aim to strengthen the visual arts in the region and nationally.

Quiz - Public art in Birmingham: How well do you know the city's artworks?

West Midlands' director Wendy Law says: "It's exciting to see how New Art West Midlands has grown over the last three years.

"There is an interesting and diverse range of talent and work coming out of our art schools and universities today.

"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 large public."

Five of the 30 artists will win cash prizes of £1000, plus a select group will be offered residencies, a project or mentoring opportunities with a network of partners, including Compton Verney, The New Art Gallery Walsall and the National Trust.

Previous participants of New Art West Midlands have gone on to enjoy career success.

Artworks by two previous New Art West Midlands artists, Chris Clinton and Lucy Hutchinson, were bought by the Arts Council Collection, the largest national collection of modern and contemporary British Art.

The 2013 winner, Rafal Zar, recently had a solo exhibition at Eastside Projects in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Rafal said: "New Art West Midlands has provided a boost of confidence for me and a vital step in my career development as an artist.

"It is an important platform, providing validation for artists and their work at a crucial time and the exhibition now plays as essential part in helping the visual arts to flourish in the region and beyond."

The selected artists include:

●  Michael Carr, Andrea Hannon, Reece Kennedy and Jennifer Shufflebotham (Coventry University)

●  Dan Auluk, Jakub Ceglarz, Lucy Dore, Joanna Fursman, Shijie Hai, Jessica Holt, Sevven Kucukogullari, Amanda Pearce, Yasmin Rennie, Vicky Roden, Camilla Searle, Megan Sheridan, Carole Sherman, Emily Sparkes, James Turner, James Turner and Jodie Wingham (Birmingham City University)

● Adam Grüning, Glenys Shirley, Jade Simpson, Sarah Thorley and Lisa Marie Williams (Stafforshire University)

● Alexandra Darby and Kathleen Fabre, with Jade Blackstock, Josh Hazell (University of Wolverhampton)

● Emma Starkey (University Of Worcester)

Their work has selected by two internationally respected artists - Birmingham-born John Newling (Yorkshire Sculpture Park / Wellcome Collection) and Bedwyr Williams (Ikon Gallery, 2012) and art historian Dr Amna Malik from the Slade School of Fine Art.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, February 13 - May 17

Visitors will not be able to miss seeing a six-foot sock monkey puppet created by Vicky Roden while large-scale animal hybrid sculptures by Jade Simpson and human-like sculptures by Lisa Marie Williams will be both humorous and unsettling.

Michael Carr's street map of Coventry references the city's Ska heritage.

There are installations by Adam Grüning and Reece Kennedy, light boxes by James Turner, prints by Yasmin Rennie and vivid paintings by Jennifer Shufflebotham and Emily Sparkes.

There will be video and performance art too, with new work by Emma Starkey and Sarah Thorley, the latter made in response to time spent working with the museum's cleaning staff.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, February 13 - May 17

It will exhibit its share of the new works in the Lady Barber Gallery alongside those by artists of historical importance.

Interesting juxtapositions will include Sevven Kucuk's photographic still lives echoing Dutch painting from the 16th and 17th century.

Lucy Dore will present The Idol Project, a display of 36 calico dolls created in the likeness of 21st century idols. Kathleen Fabre' sculptures are inspired by, and created from, inflatable water aids.

Her work is joined by striking photographic prints by Alexandra Darby and Megan Sheridan, sculpture by Jodie Wingham and a performance and installation by Dan Auluk called The Lives of Others, an Oscar-winning 2006 film.

Glenys Shirley sculptures playfully questions the nature of art collection with classical and kitsch ceramic figurines.

Jade Simpson's DIY natural history exhibit uses found materials.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, January 31 to April 26

The gallery presents further still life photographs by Sevven Kucuk and intricate illustrated books by Shijie Hai. There will also be sculptural works by Jessica Holt and Camilla Searle's video installation.

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, February 14 - May 31

Its inaugural share of the exhibition includes a series of photo collage works by Joanna Fursman and a thematically similar 3D collage by Andrea Hannon.

Amanda Pearce's installation is inspired by time spent as artist-in-residence at Birmingham's Pen Museum.

Visitors can expect to see new video work by Jakub Ceglarz and Josh Hazell plus Jade Blackstock's performance work and paintings by Emily Sparkes inspired by Queer culture.

Stark still-life photography by Sevven Kucuk contrasts with Megan Sheridan's photographs of the British at leisure in Birmingham and at English seaside resorts.

There will also be distorted screen prints by Jodie Wingham, intricate drawling-based sculpture by Carole Sherman and intriguing human-like sculpture by Lisa Marie Williams.

The Ikon Gallery, February 4 - April 19

The Brindleyplace gallery has been building up to its 50th birthday for most of this year.

On April 5, it will be exactly half a century since the doors of an octagonal glass-walled kiosk opened in the original, now long demolished Bull Ring shopping precinct which had itself opened just ten months earlier on May 29, 1964.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, there will be a constellation of small golden paintings from circa 1965 by founding artist Robert Groves.

They still shine with a luminosity derived from the superimposition of thin layers of oil and lacquer on hardboard.

The works reflect the artist's strong interest in Middle Eastern and South Asian culture, leading him to collect icons and in turn suggest the name 'Ikon' for the gallery.

Artists For Ikon, April 24 - May 4

This will be a survey of Ikon's greatest hits. The exhibition will preview works donated by some of today's most important artists, all of whom have exhibited at the gallery.

A major contemporary art auction will then be held at Sotheby's in London in July. Featured artists include Hurvin Anderson, Martin Creed, Ian Davenport, Marcel Dzama, Ryan Gander, Antony Gormley, Carmen Herrera, Roger Hiorns, Beatriz Milhazes, Julian Opie and Cornelia Parker among others.

The proceeds of the auction will lay the foundations for Ikon's 50th Anniversary Endowment Fund, dedicated to the gallery's artistic programme and the commissioning of new art work.

An crowd-funding project designed by Art Fund is under way to raise £17,000 towards the cost of creating an exhibition called At Home with Vanley Burke, to run from July 22 to September 27.

Born in Jamaica in 1951 and resident in Birmingham since 1965, Vanley is renowned as the grandfather of Black British photography, concerned especially with black culture in Britain.

Next summer, the entire contents of his flat in Nechells will be transferred to Ikon's first floor galleries.

Besides furniture and other household items, visitors will have an opportunity to explore his archive, a vast collection including printed material - posters, flyers, publications etc - clothes, records, ornaments and countless other items that provide invaluable insights into our African and Caribbean communities.

Vanley said: "This flat is many things, it's an archive, it's a gallery, it's my home, it's where I collect a part of our history.

"History is part of a lived experience... it's those objects which might look so insignificant, so kitsch but to a lot of people it contains so much information about how their parents lived."

Anyone who makes a donation before February 16 will receive an exclusive reward designed by Vanley including a compilation CD, tickets to Ikon's summer party celebrating African Caribbean culture and a limited edition art work.

Other Ikon exhibitions in 2015

Nástio Mosquito - Daily Lovemaking, Februrary 4 - April 19

Mosquito is emerging as one of the most exciting artists of his generation. Using film and music, theatrical performance, video and installation, Mosquito reflects on the nature of our globalised world.

His self-awareness as someone in the art world sits alongside his concerns with African politics, especially those pertaining to Angola as it deals with the legacy of a long and bloody civil war, sexual politics, rampant consumerism and other symptoms of globalisation.

Ikon is also organising a project combining the artist's films and performances at the 55th Biennale di Venezia, from May to August.

AK Dolven - Please Return, February 4 - April 19

One of Norway's most prominent artists uses a variety of media including painting, photography, film and sound to represent sublime natural forces.

In this respect, she identifies with the renowned 19th century Norwegian painter Peder Balke whose work is also included in the exhibition.

Pavel Büchler, May 13 - July 12

A Czech artist based in the UK since the early 1980s, this is the most comprehensive exhibition of his work in this country to date.

Utilising a variety of media including text, obsolete technologies and material discovered on the internet, Büchler frequently pairs seemingly unrelated things, often through accident or chance, drawing attention to the everyday and revealing it as fundamentally strange.

Mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Double Take: The Koestler Exhibition for the West Midlands, January 17 - March 1

This will be an exhibition of artwork, audio and creative writing from prisons, secure hospitals and young offender institutions in the West Midlands.

This inspiring collection has been selected from entries to the 2014 Koestler Awards - a charitable scheme that has been rewarding artistic achievement in the criminal justice sector for over 50 years.

The exhibition encourages viewers to take another look at ex-offenders and consider the positive contributions they can make to society.

Illustrated Brum – One Hundred Thousand Welcomes, January 17 - April 26

It will showcase collected welcomes from around the city. The project has instigated creative, cultural and social engagements across Birmingham and beyond, ready to be collated and shared.

Limited prints by artists with a connection to the city have also been commissioned for exhibition, interpreting words at the core of Illustrated Brum's practice: see, play, make, unwind, connect and discover.

Compton Verney, Warwickshire

Martin Parr – The Non-Conformists, March 14 - June 7

This features the first major body of work by celebrated documentary photographer and satirist Martin Parr.

These black-and-white photographs from the mid-1970s document the Yorkshire mill town of Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley.

Canaletto – Celebrating Britain, March 14 - June 7

It spotlights the paintings and drawings which Canaletto created between 1746 and 1755 when he chose to celebrate the latest achievements of British architecture and engineering.

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