Staff from Brown&Co and Gallery in the Lanes, sponsors of Inheritance: The Norwich Castle Open Art Show, braved the ‘Beast from the East’ to award two special exhibition prizes to artists James Gladwell and Mark Mann.
Brown&Co chose to award the exhibition prize of £1,000 to James Gladwell’s beautiful and intricate textile ‘The Farm’ while Gallery in the Lanes awarded Mark Mann’s monumental bronze sculpture Acts of Gross Indecency a prize of £500 for an Emerging Artist. The prize money provided by the two sponsors is in addition to their overall sponsorship of the exhibition.
Born in Essex in 1952 into a Romany Gypsy family and now based in Norfolk, James Gladwell was taught how to sew by his grandmother. His embroideries depict images from his dreams and draw influences from his Romany and East Anglian heritage. He works at the Barrington Farm art studio in Walcott, Norfolk.
Commenting on their choice of James’s work for the exhibition prize, Andy Evans, Commercial Valuer Partner at Brown&Co says: “There are so many enormously talented artists represented in the Norwich Castle Open Art Show that is has been a real challenge to select Brown & Co’s choice of a winning entry. However, “The Farm” by James Gladwell really caught our eye as it fits perfectly with the exhibition’s theme of inheritance, with its instant reminder of the needlepoint pictures and household linen that was in all our grandmothers’ homes, whilst depicting aspects of Norfolk that are so much part of Brown & Co’s traditions, with people, places, farms, livestock and houses all shown with tremendous good humour and style. For us it is a worthy winner in a hugely competitive field.”
Norfolk-based artist Mark Mann’s stunning bronze sculpture was created as a monument to the experiences of gay men and marked the 50th year anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Mark’s aim in creating the piece, which takes the form of a urinal beautifully decorated with an intricate design of flowers and birds, was to challenge the notion of having to look for love and connection in a hostile world. It reveals the hidden heritage of gay male culture in a pre-1967 world when queer environments, public or private, were often fleeting because of the risk of exposure.
Louisa Milsome, Gallery Manager at Gallery in the Lanes, says of their choice of this work: “Mark Mann’s Acts of Gross Indecency is an exceptional piece of sculpture. It is an interpretation of the theme of ‘Inheritance’ which is both personal and political. We awarded the Gallery in the Lanes prize for an Emerging Artist to Mark because we loved the interplay between glamour and grime: the skill displayed in the design and production, and the intimacy of the message.”
The judging took place on Friday 2 March having been postponed due to the bad weather. The sponsors were guided around the gallery by East Anglia Art Fund Director, Amanda Geitner, and Exhibition Curator, Paris Agar.
Inheritance, the fifth Norwich Castle Open Art Show, presents 129 works by 116 artists, showcasing the extraordinary wealth of artistic talent from across the region.
Chosen from a record breaking entry of almost 900 submissions from artists working in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the works include painting, sculpture, sound, textiles, film, printmaking and photography, all responding to the theme of Inheritance. This theme was chosen to complement the exhibition The Square Box on the Hill which opened on 10 February in the first of the temporary exhibition galleries at Norwich Castle and celebrates the extraordinary 900-year history of the Castle.
Inheritance has been organised in collaboration with the East Anglia Art Fund. All the works in the show are for sale with a percentage of the proceeds going to the East Anglia Art Fund to support their work in championing art in the region, not least through their ongoing sponsorship of art exhibitions at Norwich Castle.
Amanda Geitner, Director of EAAF, says: “This is a wonderful opportunity to support a virtuous circle of generous giving: Brown & Co and Gallery in the Lanes have made the show possible through their sponsorship. Anyone purchasing a work in the show is supporting the career of a contemporary artist working in the region and at the same time helping to raise funds which will support the future development of artists and contemporary art in the East. We’re really hoping that visitors they will be inspired to buy one of these wonderful pieces – which perhaps will stay in their own family as a treasured inheritance.”