Curating a show: the Next Wave Exhibition at the RBSA

The Next Wave Exhibition 2018 is on until 22 September. Next Wave supports emerging and early-career artists, helping them develop their career in the arts sector.

Artist and curator Annette Pugh gives us her thoughts on bringing it all together…

Boyle, Yasmin. Sculpture

Yasmin Boyle, sculpture

What are the curatorial challenges in staging a Next Wave show?

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.

Swinscoe Olivia NW 6

Olivia Swinscoe, Untitled, photograph

What themes do you find emerging?

This year we have emerged from selection with three key themes:body, mind and machine. There will be a strong figurative element to the show, with some exceptional painting and photographic works.

There is also a sense of playfulness, colour and childhood in some of the pieces. Design and skill are also evident through our choices and the range of work span many different mediums. We are all very happy that the works are significantly different from past Next Wave exhibitions.


Lok Ka Kong, Red Sculpture, Plastic

How do Next Wave artists reflect the current contemporary art scene?

The artists included in the show demonstrate the diversity found within current art practice.

Travel, time, place and memory are significant elements found within many of the works and are themes redolent of many contemporary artists and makers. Our artists also take on the challenge of material and space, abstract ideas and the philosophies of current art theory. They each have their own approaches, visual language and histories, but this in itself reflects the idea that emerging and mid-career artists can, and do, question the role, future, and meaning of art in today’s often uncertain society.

sparkes.emily.i sleep

Emily Sparkes, ‘I Sleep’

All images are of work by our NWA emerging artists. To see more of their work, visit the exhibition at the RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham until 22 September.

Banner image: Aimee Millward ‘Reflections of a Heterotopia’

We are delighted that Next Wave 2018 has been sponsored by Galliard Homes & Apsley House Capital.

The joint venture partnership has plans to deliver more than 2,000 new homes at four sites across Birmingham. The sites include the AE Harris premises and adjacent land on Newhall Street; Pershore Street, in Southside; and Soho Loop, a 12-acre plot on Birmingham’s Main Line Canal.

London-based Galliard Homes teamed up with Apsley House Capital, a local residential property investment house, to acquire the sites over the course of the last year. Established in 1992, Galliard Homes is one of London’s largest privately-owned developers, employing more than 700 staff. The award-winning company is a leading authority and expert in residential development, construction and the development of commercial hospitality premises, with a focus on urban regeneration. Galliard Homes currently has 44 projects under development, with a gross development value of £4.5 billion. They have 6,848 homes under construction and another 5,990 homes in the planning pipeline.

The joint venture with Apsley House Capital marks Galliard Homes’ first large-scale foray into the regional new homes market, going some way to match their London and South East portfolio.

Read about their exciting joint project in the Jewellery Quarter here:

#art #britishcontemporaryart #earlycareerartists #EmergingArtists

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