Menu

University Graduates Selected for Region's Largest Showcase of Emerging Artists

Two University of Worcester graduates have their work on display after being chosen for the region’s largest showcase of emerging artists.

Nicola Arnold and Valerija Zukova are showcasing pieces at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry as part of the New Art West Midlands annual exhibition.

They are among 28 artists, all of whom have graduated in the past three years, chosen from more than 130 entrants.

The graduates' exhibition is an initiative led by New Art West Midlands, the contemporary visual arts network for the region.

Artists have graduated from the region’s six art schools, including the University of Worcester, Hereford College of Arts, Birmingham City University, the University of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire University and Coventry University.

The exhibition, which is open now, includes new large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, video, animation, paintings and digital artworks and runs until May 13.

Nicola, who graduated from a Fine Art degree at Worcester last year, is now living in Bristol where she is studying for a Masters in Fine Art.

“I was so excited when I was told my work had been chosen,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s such a great opportunity to start putting my artwork out to the public. It’s also really lovely and encouraging to meet loads of artists who are at the same point as me. I hope to learn lots of new skills in curation and exhibition planning that will help me later on.”

Nicola’s artwork looks at the nature of light and how it works within different spaces. She is exploring how art can be produced in a meditative way.

Her piece on display is a large white-on-white wall painting and was among those picked for an award at the opening of the exhibition, which saw Nicola receive £250 art supplies from Cass Art.

She said: “The way natural light falls within a space will define its qualities and determine how a person will experience it. My work for this exhibition draws upon my personal observations and experience of the Herbert Gallery. The main source of inspiration is the beautiful, naturally lit entrance hall, however I have used shapes taken from surrounding architecture to create a site-specific piece.”

Valerija, who graduated with a degree in Art and Design last year, came to the UK from Riga, Latvia and lived in Worcester during her studies.

“I'm happy that my work was chosen,” said the 24-year-old, of Birmingham. “It is a great opportunity.”

Her work explores the symbiotic relationship between sculpture and photography through the interplay of surfaces. Her sculptures combine man-made material, Perspex, and natural material, metal.

“I was inspired by the material itself that I was working with,” she said. “My goal was to create something different. I wanted to make an object that I have not seen before, something complex yet simple.”

Previous exhibitors have seen their work purchased for the national Art Council Collection and have gone on to achieve solo exhibitions in respected galleries.

 

Picture: Valerija Zukova's piece on display - credit Valerija Zukova / New Art West Midlands