The Open West 2015

Ian Rayer-Smith, Limb, mixed media on board, 30 x 30cm

We are delighted that six of our members have been selected for The Open West 2015. We've asked them all to say a few words about being selected

 Artists on Axisweb selected for The Open West 2015:

Gillian Widden, Deborah Westmancoat, Ian Rayer-Smith, Trevor Kiernander, Steph Goodger and Ben Jack Nash

  • Gillian Widden

    Gillian Widden, Crataegus,


    About the artwork

    The work Crataegus, is a circle of hawthorn berries, collected over three consecutive autumns, and surrounded by charred hazel sticks. The collection and accumulation of material over a long period of time has become a recurring theme in my work. The foraging process is itself, very repetitive, and I find that through this repetitive, mediative practice, one can lose all sense of time. This work reflects my preoccupation with time and the fragility and preciousness of life.

    What does it mean to you to be selected for The Open West 2015?

    Initially there was disappointment, and then surprise, as it wasn't until two days after selection, that I found the all important email in my junk folder!

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  • Deborah Westmancoat

    Deborah Westmancoat, Surface 2 (2013), 2013

    Surface 2 (2013), 2013

    About the artwork

    The work which has been selected for The Open West 2015 is a painting titled 'Surface 2' (2013). It's a dark piece. It is comprised of black writing ink, snowmelt, jojoba and beeswax on board, and was made in response to long night-time walks arond our local floodplains. The inundation of winter flooding had completely changed the landscape from the known to the mysterious and eerily unfamiliar.

    At the time I was thinking a lot about how philosophical alchemy could provide an overlay of understanding of the landscape, and considered how flooding, the obliteration of familiar detail, fitted well with the alchemical stage of nigredo. The floods could be seen as the dark, swirling waters of the Nekyia, Jung's "night journey on the sea".

    What does it mean to you to be selected for The Open West 2015?

    Through the process of being in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries and RA shows over the last year I have been really aware of how one's own work can take on new aspects when exhibited as part of a collective. I'm delighted to be selected for The Open West 2015. It's a significant show and I'm really looking forward to seeing the conversations and acknowledgements that will happen between the works brought together by the curatorial team.

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  • Trevor Kiernander

    Trevor Kiernander, 5, 2014

    5, 2014

    About the artwork

    The painting I am exhibiting in The Open West is titled '5', and was part of the body of work I debuted in Montreal, in the exhibition 'Uncommon Ground' at Galerie Art Mur. As a painter I explore figure/ground relationships in the representation of architectural motifs, and examine, assemble, and deconstruct pictorial space.  I reference images and places, and attempt to create a unique spacial environment in painting. The painting '5' began with the establishment of a series of shapes to develop the two-dimensional composition of the canvas, and then using images of buildings, I further developed the formal and abstract elements of the piece to create visual tension, and a sense of realistic, dynamic spacial energy.

    What does it mean to you to be selected for The Open West 2015?

    As with any large competition, especially those open to international submissions, when you are selected it feels pretty good!  I have known about the Open West for some time, so having been selected for the 2015 showcase is great.  I am colleagues with some of the artists selected, and am familiar with many of the others' work, so it is good to know I am in good company.  I am hoping that my inclusion in The Open West 2015 will lead to more opportunities!

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  • Steph Goodger

    Steph Goodger, Les Non-Réclamés (The Unclaimed) Diptych, 2015

    Les Non-Réclamés (The Unclaimed) Diptych, 2015

    About the artwork

    A coffin is a very rudimentary structure for housing a person and the last space we occupy. It is this space which I found intriguing in photographs of the dead Communards, whilst researching the Paris Commune of 1871. These became the subject of the painting Les Non-Réclamés (Diptych). History and in particular the Nineteenth Century, provides incredibly rich images and narratives for paintings I find. 

    What does it mean to you to be selected for The Open West 2015?

    I was slightly shocked to be selected as I was not at all sure how this painting would be received.  I have been absorbed for so long in the subject (The Paris Commune of 1871), for over a year, that I did have faith in it and in the painting. But it's easy as well to feel a bit unhinged after months of studying photographs of battle dead, the Communards lined up in their coffins like unseeing sentries.  So it is deeply satisfying after all that, to have the work appreciated by The Open West selectors and to have it hung in such a great venue.

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  • Ben Jack Nash

    Ben Jack Nash, [  ]~ No. 8 (v),

    [ ]~ No. 8 (v),

    About the artwork

    The three artworks chosen for the exhibition have all been completed within the last twelve months. They are sculpture and site-adapted installations that use found object, fibreglass, wood and light. My practice looks at spatial changes that take place in materials and relates these to shifts in social orders and structures. The works look at the problems in identifying the changes as they are taking place and focuses on by-products, footprints or impressions left behind and the spiritual qualities that they engender.

    What does it mean to you to be selected for The Open West 2015?

    The calibre of the other artists' work is excellent so it is inspiring to be considered as at least some part of that. The exhibition opens my work up to a new audience in a part of the country I have not previously exhibited and raises its profile. There is also a strong educational programme which means the curious minds of a younger audience also get to cast their eye.

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About The Open West 2015

The Open West is an annual open submission exhibition inviting work from national and international artists practising contemporary and conceptual art. Work submitted includes painting, installation, film and sound, textile, photography, ceramics, drawing, print, performance and sculpture.

The Open West 2015 offers opportunities for artists to participate in an education programme and artist talks

The 2015 panel were The Open West curators Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin, with artists Neville Gabie and Alastair Gordon

44 artists have been selected for the exhibition at The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum 16 May to 28 JuneThe Curators' Award and the University of Gloucestershire Award will be presented on the night of the private view.

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