Looking back at ‘Made in Wirksworth’

Taking a look back at 2019’s Curated Exhibition: Made in Wirksworth

Denis O'Connor photographic portrait by Chris Webb from Made in Wirksworth exhibition

As Festival plans are on hold for now, we’re taking a moment to look back at last year’s Curated Exhibition: Made in Wirksworth, which was a glorious celebration of 25 years of the Wirksworth Festival!

Made in Wirksworth was curated by internationally renowned sculptor and Wirksworth resident, Denis O’Connor and brought together a number of artists and designers who both work and live in the town.  The exhibition took over The Maltings and highlighted a range of different practices exploring the crossover between a variety of disciplines and providing an opportunity to view painting, sculpture, print, and photography alongside innovative design work.

Most importantly, the show celebrated the contribution the visual artists have made to the Festival over the past 25 years, acknowledging the rich creatives and diverse range of arts practices within Wirksworth.

The Made in Wirksworth exhibition showed the work of 23 artists and the curator, Denis O’Connor said, “my selection is not critical but sets out to provide a more personal and subjective choice, bringing together certain established artists who share a similar work ethic to myself, and some who have in the last few years established their work practice here… I could easily have curated two more exhibitions which would have showcased all of the town’s artists… When I present my Public Art Commissions to audiences throughout the UK and Ireland, I am very proud to say the work was ‘made in Wirksworth’.”

The exhibition also showed stunning photographs of each artist in their studio taken by Chris Webb which formalised the importance of the exhibition as well as creating an archive of individual artists’ practices.

Here’s a gallery of all the photographic portraits taken by Chris Webb, click on the first image to see a pop up gallery of all the images! If you follow the Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can also see the works and artists’ statements that made up the Made in Wirksworth exhibition.

My background in commercial photography revolves around searching out and creating light. This, along with pushing the boundaries of cameras and software, influences my documentary, street photography and landscape work. 

The key element though, is trying to find and show the bond between myself and the subject or the subjects in the photograph. For this project I found it fascinating to capture the character of each of the artists, illustrating them all ‘at home’ in their natural environments, whilst at the same time creating a body of work that comes together wonderfully as one.”

Chris Webb, photographer