8 Dec - 28 Feb

EMERGENCY, our international open exhibition aims to champion contemporary art by emerging artists, increasing exposure for their work, and encouraging further professional development opportunities.

The exhibition reflects the diversity and dynamism of contemporary art practice, with artists working in a broad range of media. This show is not thematic, seeking to reflect the range of interests artists express in their work today.

Over three-hundred emerging artists applied for the biennial opportunity, of which just eight were selected. The panel were: Joanne Bushnell, Director, Aspex; Lindsay Friend, Director, IMT Gallery (Image Music Text); Cathy Lomax, Artist & Director, Transition Gallery and Adam Sutherland, Director, Grizedale Arts.

The 2017 exhibiting artists are: Eleanor Breeze, Matthew Gough, James Lewis, Lindsey Mendick, Flore Nové-Josserand, Beth Emily Richards, Maggie Roberts and Lotte Rose Kjær Skau.

At the launch of the exhibition on Thursday 7 December, (18.00 - 20.00hrs) a winner will be announced, receiving a prize of a solo exhibition in 2019, a fee and support to develop new work.

This exhibition is the eighth incarnation of EMERGENCY. Previous winners of the prize, established in 2003, include: Susan Collis (2003), Tim Machin (2005), Cathy Ward & Eric Wright (2007), Kihlberg & Henry (2009), Charlie Tweed (2011), Jim Howieson (2013) and Maya Ramsay (2015).

This year we will be introducing the People’s Choice award, an opportunity for visitors to vote for their favourite work. The winner of the public vote will receive a £200 prize.

Join the conversation by using the hashtag #EMERGENCY2017 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the artists

Eleanor Breeze


Breeze’s practice is rooted in painting, where the artist re-imagines memories and old photographs from her family life to create scenes that may or may not have occurred in the past. The images hint at narrative, but ultimately remain ambiguous; they are often melancholy, making reference to something lost or just out of reach. In her more recent work she has elevated her mother to the role of the Madonna, creating a body of work that investigates devotion after death, and the nature of memory, objects and relics.

Breeze’s work is currently on show at the BALTIC Centre as part New Contemporaries.

Matthew Gough


Matthew Gough is an artist who recently completed an MA in Fine Art at Arts University Bournemouth. Engaged mainly with painting his imagery is derived from a wide variety of sources such as retro video games, fashion magazines and photographs of obscure activities.

Working with a bold aesthetic of bright colours and simplified shapes, his work has an immediacy that belies a sensitivity and subtlety not immediately apparent. He has also recently started to produce small tapestries from his paintings using a pared back visual language, which partially explore the idea of a meta-narrative.

Gough’s work is currently on show at the BALTIC Centre as part New Contemporaries.

James Lewis


Lewis’ work establishes a dialogue with this suppressed and obscure twin of subjectivity; it addresses a state before logos, before the naming of things, a state of chaos, of disintegration.

This volatile semiosis is mirrored in the material Lewis uses and unrefined materiality is exposed to its own corrosion, to its eventual return to dust. These psychic objects formed from memory are reminiscent of a Golem invocation, retracing the word to its original meaning: an amorphous, unformed raw material, usually out of metal, stone and clay, before it has been given a name, when all spirit is just matter.

Flore Nové-Josserand


Flore Nové-Josserand’s visually exuberant installations draw upon the aesthetics of fine art, design, architecture and photography, creating intriguing collisions between a variety of decorative forms and conceptual strategies. Systems, artefacts and gestures sourced from various social situations and aesthetic canons are subverted, re-purposed and collaged together into unsettling and beautiful objects and spaces.

Recurring motifs and clever, although occasionally very subtle, visual quotations give away her thematic ambitions, yet she is expert at ensuring that we remain in present time, in a space of interactions.

Nové-Josserand co-runs a curatorial platform, Eye-eye and a research platform, the WAI.  

Lindsey Mendick


Mendick’s work often draws from her surroundings, with entities being forged from her personal narrative, most prominently stories based around family and the domestic setting. The artist naturally gravitates to colour and ‘the most deliciously fabulous of entities’, elevating the everyday domestic object to one of decadence and opulence.

The artist said:  “As a child of the 1990s, my sensibility was forged in the decade that taste forgot. The Spice Girls made the headlines daily, Denise Van Outen’s Wonderbra-ed bosom greeted me each morning on the Big Breakfast, Changing Rooms dictated taste (I am still haunted by my Dad’s vomit-inducing pink and orange study), laminated Leonardo Dicaprio posters adorned my walls and every soft furnishing I owned had to be inflatable.

In my visual typography, all of these images have amalgamated (along with an after burp of 1980s design) to forge a gloriously camp phantasmagoria of pattern, colour and iconographic imagery that bring me such ephemeral pleasure to revisit”.

Beth Emily Richards


Richard’s work responds to recent historical narratives of Michael Jackson in the South of the UK, namely Jackson’s visit to Exeter City Football Club in 2002 and a 1999 ‘Michael Jackson’ gig in Barnstaple, Devon. This was later revealed to be a hoax

Through her research, Richard believes that these narratives allow her to explore ideas of personal and public archives of a regional history that has transcended into urban legend. Using archival photos and video, press reports, interviews and fan art, the body of work investigates the blurry line between history and myth, global and local performance, hoaxes and disbelief.

The artwork unpacks ideas about: lookalikes as reenactment; notions of ‘tribute’; suspension of disbelief; veracity of photography’s documentary qualities (using the only image archiving the Barnstaple event to do so); pop cultural icons, celebrity and fame.

Maggie Roberts


Robert’s practice involves excess and iteration, feedback of rhythm and texture across screen, collage and painterly mediums, often using morphing viscous liquidity and ‘machine vision’ to undo and expose the underlying implications and aesthetics of the digital or virtual.

Invisible frequencies and how they affect in the world are part of the image fictions in her work: the expanded spatio temporal scales of cosmic, geological, biotechnical and cultural evolution; of geopolitical pressure, dark materials and liminal energies – all forces for destabilisation and change. The artist maps developing communication currents, themselves effective frequencies in our habitats and fantasies, to expose futurity impacting through climate change as the violence of excess and luxury.

Lotte Rose Kjær Skau


Lotte Rose Kjær Skau takes her inspiration from a range of sources: technology and cybernetics, ritual gestures, cultural tradition, as well as contemporary activities such as sports and pop culture. The artist’s materiality responds to a core interest in human imitation of physical structures and behaviors in the digital world. In her artistic process the artist depicts the immediate and puts it within a digital context, morphing it into more abstract variations. Her perception of materiality is ephemeral and she seeks to turn digital textures into a substantial feel and vice versa.