A focus on contemporary visual art is one of the features that distinguishes Wirksworth Festival from other festivals in the region. It is unique in the way that it brings contemporary art to a rural community, offering the best of regional, national, international and emerging artists, outside of the confines of a traditional gallery space and accessible to everyone. One of the ways the Festival enables this is working with invited artists to curate an exhibition.
The Curated Exhibition is based on a theme which responds to the town and its buildings, its people or its surroundings. Wirksworth has a rural setting but is also within walking distance of the textile mills which sparked the Industrial Revolution and until recently was itself a site for textile, quarrying and mining industries. Each September the Festival weaves this complex of rural, post-industrial, heritage and modern digital elements into one of the most vibrant arts events in the calendar, offering a developing programme of high quality contemporary visual art that is ambitious, accessible and thought provoking.
2017’s Curated Exhibition, supported with funding from Arts Council England, has been put together by Louisa Chambers and Emily Strange, artists and researchers from Nottingham Trent University. Together they have created Veneer, an exhibition brings together a group of diverse artists from around the country whose practices play with themes of domesticity, display and concealment, and architectural space.
Alongside Louisa and Emily will be artists Craig Fisher, Conor Hurford, Demi Levi, Tessa Lynch, Laura McCafferty, Zoe Mendelson, David Penny, Gabriel Tejada and Ian Whitfield.