Introducing this year’s curators

For 2016, we are pleased to announce that our main exhibition is curated by Geoff Diego Litherland and Wirksworth based artist Dermot Punnett, titled Nature: Here and Now.

For 2016, we are pleased to announce that our main exhibition is curated by Geoff Diego Litherland and Wirksworth based artist Dermot Punnett, titled Nature: Here and Now. The exhibition looks at how artists challenge their own perceptions to create new ways of seeing and comprehending the natural world around us.

The exhibition will include a number of internationally renowned artists such as Mariele Neudecker and Peter Matthews. We are also thrilled to have an installation taking over our 13th century, St. Mary’s Church by Wolfgang Buttress, the artist that was selected to represent the UK for the UK pavilion at the Milan Expo in 2015.

Geoff Diego Litherland is a Mexican born artist and has recently moved to Wirksworth. Having spent his early years in Bolivia and Ecuador he moved to England and graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 2002 with a first class honours degree in Fine Art Painting.  He has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. Recognition to date has included winning the Saatchi Online Surreal Showdown in 2012, being awarded the prestigious Warden’s Purchase prize from Goldmsiiths; being selected for the John Moores 25 Painting prize at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool and winning the Nottingham Castle Open in 2008.  Geoff is currently an Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University and has just completed an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University of London.

“What I find really fascinating about Wirksworth is the landscape and how it is influencing my new work. The physical scars left by the mining and the way nature is retaking the abandoned quarries are making a mark on me already.  All the places I have lived have influenced my work which has always been about using materials to make sense of my surroundings and my relationship to nature.”

Dermot Punnett is also based in Wirksworth and together with Geoff and other artists, is founding Haarlem Artspace.  Dermot has a BA Fine Art Painting degree from Falmouth College of Arts and an MA in Fine Art Painting from Bath Spa University. His work oscillates between painting as image and painting as a material process. Working from personal photography and found images, Dermot utilises the effects of reproduction and pixilation on a painterly aesthetic.

“I start by painting the image in a representational manner and then apply dragging techniques, pushing and pulling the paint and causing ruptures in the image.  Within this I use geometrical abstractions, playing on a sense of entropy and order; the impermanence of form, but also the crystalline nature of its emergence. Through this process I try to understand and internalize perception and experience, whilst reflecting on a sense of modern day anxiety.”

More about the Festival’s Curated Exhibition will be posted on our website later in the year, sign up for news to be kept up to date.


Featured image: Dermot Punnett – Chrysopiea