Pick of the past
Over the years, Wirksworth Festival has presented masses of talented artists and performers. There is no way that we can show all of the wonderful work that has appeared at the Festival and so, we have chosen a selection of just some of the highlights, in no particular order. If there’s something that you think we should have included, that isn’t here, why not get in touch to let us know!
The Curated Exhibition: Made in Wirksworth
Internationally renowned sculptor and Wirksworth resident, Denis O’Connor, curated the main exhibition in 2019, bringing together a number of artists and designers who both work and live in the town.
Set within The Maltings, the show set out to critically highlight 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.
2018’s main exhibition was curated by Wirksworth-based artists Amanda Wray and Johnny White.
The exhibition took the theme of family, linking White-Wray’s family home town, the Festival as a family occasion and the wide family appeal of White-Wray’s interactive work. The Maltings featured a selection of work by Johnny White and Amanda Wray loosely based on their own family experiences. Alongside this there was a new series of paintings inspired by family photographs by fellow Wirksworth artist, Tracy Keeping, and an animation, funded by Arts Council England, by the Singh Twins. In St. Mary’s Church, Hull-based artist Andi Dakin exhibited a new body of work entitled Church Urchins – a colourful and playful presence throughout the church.
Forced Landscape 2013, was a site-specific installation located on the grounds of the National Stone Centre, Derbyshire, UK. Penetrating the ground, forming a tapered sculptural cavity, clad in mosaic glass tiles and concrete, the work reflects the dramatic topography of its surroundings -the holes, tunnels, peaks, steep hills, and passages, the shafts, and drainage soughs that result from the landscape’s unique industrial and geological histories.
Wolfgang Buttress is an award-winning artist working with public space. He creates simple, elegant and contextual public artworks, which seek to define and highlight our relationship to the natural world.
For the 2016 Festival, Wolfgang followed up his monumental Milan Expo ‘Beehive’ British Pavilion with newly commissioned, totemic, audio-visual companion piece, BEAM, developed for and set within the celestial surrounds of Wirksworth’s 13th century St Mary’s Church. Drawing on the behaviours of the constantly-threatened domestic bee population, Buttress presented BEAM as a continuation and companion piece to The Hive, the multi-award winning, honeycomb pavilion he designed for the Milan Expo 2015.