Mercer Gallery hosts new arts prize show

Winner of the �10k prize, Nat Quinn.
Winner of the �10k prize, Nat Quinn.

THE Valeria Sykes Prize Exhibition, showcasing the work of artists shortlisted for the first £10,000 New Lights Art Prize for northern painters, has just opened at Harrogate’s Mercer Art Gallery.

The show, which runs until January 8, 2012, features shortlisted paintings for this new arts prize as well as work by winner Nat Quinn.

The 2011 prize, named the Valeria Sykes Prize, after the main sponsor who is based in Ripon, was open to artists aged 23-35 who either live or have gained an arts degree in the North of England.

Valeria also awarded a special £2500 award to Newcastle artist Francesca Hudson.

Quinn, who graduated this summer, was selected from 24 shortlisted painters based across the North of England.

Quinn said: “I’m absolutely delighted and somewhat overwhelmed to have won the New Lights Art Prize.

“The £10,000 award and the additional business mentoring will undoubtedly help in advancing my career as a professional artist.”

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, praised the winner’s work: “Nat Quinn’s delicate and ambiguous abstract paintings take as much from other media - like drawing and ceramics - as they do from the history of painting. A very worthy recipient in a talented selection.”

The exhibition features paintings in a variety of styles and sizes, range from landscapes to portraits, abstract to conceptual.

New Lights chief executive Annette Petchey said: “This is a great opportunity to discover more about the diverse range of paintings being produced by young artists across the region. All work is for sale and the New Lights Prize Exhibition is shaping up to become a major event in the Northern Arts Calendar.”

l The Valeria Sykes Prize Exhibition is at The Mercer Art Gallery, Swan Road, Harrogate.

Entry is free and the gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 2pm to 5pm, closed Mondays except Bank Holidays.

The gallery closes at 4pm daily November to March.

More information from 01423 556188 or