Fresh, challenging and essential art

Eastern Open 2001 @ King's Lynn Arts Centre

Eastern Open 2001 @ King's Lynn Arts Centre

By PETER BALDWIN

The Eastern Open is now a well-established annual exhibition of contemporary art. The submissions are drawn from seven counties and each year it reflects the variety and quality of our region's visual art.

This year the selectors have opted for drawing as an end in itself and more particularly for the photographic-based “new media”, to the extent that the prizes once awarded for painting, prints and etchings have been merged into one new category, with three artists working in that field – Alexandra Thorpe, Roderick Henderson and Andrew Ryder – sharing the “new media” prize.


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Stephen Wright's minimal, biomorphic Filter, a large pencil drawing, took the GMC Trust Best in Show award, while Josey Brett's Cromer Seascape, Spring, combining an oriental economy with a cathartic discipline, scooped both the Drawing Award and the Guella Trust Purchase Award.

Selection on this basis is a form of instant curation, so the complementary Postcard Show and the Home and Away outreach scheme provide, overall, a more balanced picture.

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However, within the main exhibition the oil paintings of John Midgley and Michael Murfin possess a natural authority based on a sophisticated use of abstract principle, which sustains interest. Some of the work that

is clearly succinct in terms of effect is nevertheless thought-provoking and stimulating.

Every year the Eastern Open provides the community with a fresh, challenging and essential showcase of our region's visual art, for which praise is due to the King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.

The exhibition continues until May 5.

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