38th Annual Open Awards 2023
Each year we invite three judges to the Open Exhibition to select their Highly Commended Artists and their Overall Winner, this year we have Sophie Parr, Josie Jenkins, and Judith Vickers. In addition, we also have two judges for the Business Choice Awards, who are Phil Bower, from Northwich Art Shop, and Jane from Tailmates, a Frodsham-based pet shop.
Business Choice Awards
Phil Bower – Highly Commended
Rocky Shore by Pat Brown (G1)
Electric Evergreen by Louise Barson (G2)
Phil Bower – Business Award Winner
Full English by Dave Percival (Foyer)
Jane from Tailmates – Highly Commended
Hare by Clair Young (G1)
Jane stated: “I felt like it was so life like and raw, as if I held my hand out it would dart away.”
Le Clin D’Oeil by Sharon Lam (G3)
Jane stated: “This painting is so vibrant, and the lady portrayed looks like such fun like I’d like to know her.”
Cottage Window by P J Mills (G2)
Jane stated: “A simple view anyone could have seen. It made me think of my childhood with flashes of memories that I can’t quite pin down.”
Jane – Business Award Winner
Falls of Shin by Hazel Thomson (stairway outside G1 & G3)
Jane stated: “I really like the way the sun clipped the trees as the river winded its way around the bend and the use of gold/sliver leaf giving extra highlight to this very textured painting.”
Judges Highly Commended Artists
Sophie Parr – “I am Head of Art at a local Secondary School, teaching Art and Photography. I am also a practicing artist and a previous winner of the Castle Park Open. I am a landscape painter that was selected to participate in Sky Arts Landscape artist of the year which will be on our screens early 2024.”
Sophie Stated: “I have selected Full Tilt Under a Dirty Sky by Dorothy Taylor. I am particularly impressed by her use of mark making to describe the textures of the changing landscape, creating an energy and a sense of being exposed to the elements. She has shown an excellent understanding of colour, mixing a large range of colours within a limited palette in order to describe the rich autumnal landscape. Her choice of composition gives you a slice of the landscape from top to bottom.”
Josie Jenkins – Josie was born in The East Riding of Yorkshire and is now based in Liverpool. She studied for her BA Hons in Fine Art (Painting) at Norwich School of Art and Design, graduating in 2002 and has since exhibited in the UK and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Assembled Worlds solo show at Bluecoat in 2020 and Refractive Pool Contemporary Painting in Liverpool group exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 2022, which Jenkins also co-curated.
Josie stated: Cottage Window by PJ Mills is one of those seemingly effortless paintings that in fact requires a very skilled hand and an ability to understand how to use limited marks to capture the most beautiful elements of a particular vision. The classical techniques of layering to create perspective and framing through the depiction of a window makes this work instantly engaging. The lighter marks mapping out the landscape in the distance add to the illusion of depth and against this, the more solid and defined interior brings variety to the composition, with a few simple objects that attract your attention. It’s a universal scene depicted with a lightness of hand that displays great talent.” Josie also added, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all of the artists who were selected for the exhibition and especially to the ones who were awarded a commendation.”
Judith Vickers – “I’m Judith and am the Centre manager at Castle Park Arts Centre. A wire sculptor in my spare time, I am very fortunate to spend my working days surrounded by those who share my passion for art.”
Judith Stated: “Castle Point by Solway Firth drew me in. Subtle, muted tones work together perfectly. Up close, it reveals glimpses of text, raw edges from torn paper and is full of texture, all of which are not immediately apparent. It is as beautiful admired from a distance as it is intriguing when studied up close.”
Judges Overall Winner
“We chose Full English by Dave Percival because this artwork not only displays excellent technical ability and is instantly engaging in its subject matter but also has multiple layers of potential meaning. The artwork is beautifully executed with the artist showing a mastery of the medium used. The composition, which balances the human figures carefully inside the structure of the interior and with beautiful use of light, gives an elegance to this image of two old men, with their wrinkled skin and stern faces. But then the way any viewer might read meaning into this artwork is completely up for grabs. There are so many different narratives that could fit the image, which seems both gritty and sensitive at the same time. This unknown plays on our inquisitive human nature and leaves the viewer wanting more.”
Fancy coming for a look?
The 38th Open Exhibition will be available for viewing until Saturday 23rd December!
*Please note: Castle Park Arts Centre will be closed at the end of the day on 23rd December until the 3rd January for the Christmas break. This includes the cafe.*
If this year’s Open has inspired you to begin or develop your own artistic practice, then you might consider joining some of our creative workshops.
Come and celebrate Christmas with us!