Young artists triumph in Black Swan Arts Open exhibition

The winners of the prestigious Black Swan Arts Open exhibition have been revealed, with young artists dominating the prizes.

Friday 5th August 2022 6:00 pm
Ellen Carter, winner of the First Prize supported by Hauser & Wirth Somerset, with Portrait of Mum ©David Chedgy Photography
(David Chedgy Photography )

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This year’s outstanding panel of judges include Bruce Munro, best known for his large-scale immersive light-based installations; Abbi Bayliss who is the youngest member of the Visual Arts South West team; Will Cooper, curator at Holburne Museum and The Edge, Bath University; award-winning sculptor Lucy Glendinning; Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s Debbie Hillyerd; and Gary Topp; executive director, Arnolfini, Bristol. Between them they have selected an exceptional body of work from the 1,000-plus entries received.

The judges said the 2022 Open competition has produced one of the highest quality shows they have ever seen at Black Swan Arts centre, which is in Frome. The outstanding 193 pieces selected were created by 153 artists, making it the largest Arts Open exhibition in its 30-year history. The work was chosen anonymously on merit alone. All the work is priced under £1,000 and is for sale.

Of the selected work, 74 come from artists in the Bath area and 32 from Frome, while of the 18 prizes and highly commended awards, nine are from the Frome area. Sixteen of the works on show are by artists aged under 30 years, who won seven of the prizes and commendations.

This year’s winners:

First Prize supported by Hauser & Wirth Somerset: Ellen Carter for Portrait of Mum. Highly commended: Alyson Minkley for Haptic Traces Series, Danny Markey for Red and White Footballers, Sarah Edwards for Scabious, Violet Venables-Ziminski for Self Portrait as Stanley Spencer, Gina Soden for Retrait Bleu and Frances Gynn for The Trouble with Nature – Yellowhammer in Snow.

Harris & Harris Solicitors Prize: Steve Dutton for The Judge (Phantom Industry).

Lynda Pelly Prize for an Artist Under 30: Grace Green for Where Water Meets Land. Highly commended: Josie Phillips for Vessel 1 and Ruby Hyde for This is No Place. Bruce Munro Studio 3D Prize: Robyn Neild for Resting Figure with Botanicals.

Geraint Davies Picture Framing Prize: Violet Venables-Ziminski for Self Portrait as Stanley Spencer.

Makers’ Yard Somerset Residency Prize: Marta Zubieta for Petit Mort and Bath Time. Lotte’s Bistro Prize for a Local Artist: Miranda Collis for Nest. Highly commended: Violet Venables-Ziminski for Self Portrait as Stanley Spencer.

The artwork includes a variety of media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, photography, sculpture, multimedia and moving image.

A spokesperson said: “The work is already flying off the walls but with so many exceptional, original pieces there is still a wide variety left to buy. So, visit soon and support both the artists and Black Swan Arts – which is a registered charity and receives no public funding – by buying some art and experiencing the joy of owning an original artwork!”

Visitors can also vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award which is sponsored by Forward Space. The winner will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

The Black Swan Arts Open exhibition runs in Frome until 11 September. For further information, visit, where you can sign up to the newsletter and receive the latest information on events.

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