Supporting the Next Wave: Annette Pugh on curating early-career artists

Six months on from our Next Wave Exhibition, our March showcase brings together the curators and artists of the Next Wave programme, which sees established RBSA Members supporting and nurturing early-career artists.

The Next Wave Associate Showcase runs March 25 – May 11.

Next Wave events have a real buzz about them, because they feature the upcoming and exciting new talent the region has to offer. This showcase is an update on the artists involved, bringing together their latest work. Much of the work on show is for sale, meaning you can spot opportunities to snap up artworks by new artists.

We asked Annette Pugh, a Next Wave curator, for her thoughts on the scheme, which has been run by the RBSA since 2014…

‘It can be difficult, exciting, slightly nerve wracking and extremely rewarding to curate Next Wave. Due to the nature of open submission exhibitions, you just don’t know what type of work you will get in from the call out.

‘We publicise the deadlines extensively, visit universities, studios etc. and encourage applications from a wide range of artists but it is impossible to plan for any particular type of exhibition in advance.

‘We are however, very aware that we want each Next Wave to have a significantly different look and feel. Our focus has always been to champion skill, quality and craftsmanship whilst also addressing pertinent issues and trends within contemporary practice. With the work submitted being wide ranging both in style, medium and content, we look for aesthetic and thematic links and also for artists whose work supports, complements and connects with other works in the show.

‘We want the pieces selected to support each other and to generate debate with the public. It has always been our intention that Next Wave should offer an exhibition that looks and feels different to other RBSA exhibitions, that lends itself to more radical curatorial decisions; this in itself takes a lot of planning. The selection process is therefore particularly difficult and highly significant in creating a cohesive exhibition and one that will showcase the very best of our artists’ practices.’

Are you interested in becoming a Next Wave Artist? The scheme will reopen to artists next year. Benefits include:

  • Professional development for artists in the early stages of their career
  • A public exhibition held at the RBSA Gallery
  • Exhibition interpretation material
  • A programme of supporting events
  • RBSA artist support in curating new artists in the early stages of their career
  • An opportunity for each artist and curator to meet the RBSA President to discuss their thoughts on the project and how the Society could develop
  • An opportunity for selected artists to become a Next Wave Associate

 

The Next Wave project began in 2014 as an exciting new venture for the RBSA. The project aims to stage regular exhibitions of work by emerging and early-career artists. It also aims to support and promote the exhibitors to help them develop their career in the arts sector. Following the success of Next Wave 2014, the RBSA made it a biennial project so that the aims could be developed and continued. The 2018 exhibition was sponsored by Galliard Homes and Apsley House Capital.

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