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Artists Announced: Exeter Contemporary Open 2017

By July 4, 2017January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates

Exhibition runs 15 Sept – 4 Nov

From left to right: Sooim Jeong’s Airy Exchange (2017), Olivia Bax’s Blaaah (2017), Gareth Cadwallader’s Sailor Girl (2015-17) , Fiona Curran’s Reliable Knowledge (2017).

This September, Exeter’s leading independent Contemporary Arts exhibition centre, Exeter Phoenix, will present a significant showcase exhibition of emerging and established contemporary visual artists from across the UK and beyond.

First held in 2006, the Exeter Contemporary Open is one of the UKs most prominent contemporary art competitions, culminating in an annual exhibition. Over the last twelve years, the exhibition has built national and international reputation as a prime opportunity for artists to showcase their work, drawing audiences and attention from across the country.

This year’s exhibition includes a shortlist of eleven artists, selected from several hundred submissions by Independent Curator Kristian Day, Founding Director of  VITRINE (London/Basel) Allys Williams and Exeter Phoenix’s Gallery Curator Matt Burrows.


The exhibition will launch in September with a VIP preview hosted by main sponsors Haines Watts Chartered Accountants, at which several awards including the £1000 Overall Award and £500 Additional Award. This will be followed by a further £200 Audience Choice Award – voted for by the public throughout the run of the exhibition and announced in the final week.


Eleven artists have been selected to feature in this year’s exhibition; Nancy Allen, Olivia Bax, Gareth Cadwallader, Fiona Curran, Beth Fox, Ralph Hunter-Menzies, Sooim Jeong, Alistair Levy, Suzanne O’Haire, Aimee Parrott and Maryam Tafakory. Working across a range of visual artforms including sculpture, painting, collage and moving image, this year’s artists selection promises a fresh and diverse exhibition covering a range of exciting new work. 

Last year’s Overall Award Winner, painter Devlin Shea has recently returned from a residency and solo exhibition at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong and currently features in a prestigious group exhibition called These Rotten Words at Cardiff’s Chapter arts centre.

Artist and previous Exeter Contemporary Open finalist Paul Merrick said, ‘Just taking part in this show has been a fantastic experience … It's all about having conversations and making connections which go on to influence my work and might lead to future collaborations. Exeter Contemporary Open has delivered on the whole experience.'

Visit for more information on the exhibition.