Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s

With the Aesthetica Art Prize open for entries, we take a closer look at one of the opportunities available for both shortlisted and longlisted artists. In a celebration of contemporary art, innovative and outstanding works entered into this year’s Prize will be displayed in the enchanting setting of York St Mary’s, York Art Gallery’s contemporary art space. The group exhibition forms part of the prize for eight shortlisted artists; the remaining longlisted works will also be projected within the space in a fantastic opportunity for 100 entrants to gain significant exposure and introduce their work to a wider audience.

Taking pride of place in the centre of the historic city of York, St Mary’s is a deconsecrated medieval church which dates back to 1020. Acquired by York Museums Trust in 2004, it was consequently opened as a contemporary visual art venue and has since hosted a number of high profile exhibitions in addition to the inaugural Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition last spring. 2012 saw Cornelia Parker’s Thirty Pieces of Silver loaned from Tate to St Mary’s where over 1000 flattened objects hung beautifully in the space. York Museums Trust also commissions site-specific installations each year; these pieces all respond to the medieval history and interior of the church, celebrating the heritage and beauty of this unique space.

The contemporary work championed by the Aesthetica Art Prize will create a wonderful juxtaposition with the medieval setting during the exhibition scheduled for spring 2014, and aims to challenge the notion of the “white cube” to deliver truly a unique experience. The prize presents a great opportunity for the rising stars of the art world to display their work in a new visual context in a major event for both the city of York and for the North as a region. Embracing artists who work in a variety of different media and styles, the group exhibition promises to be a fascinating show of diverse talent. Brazilian artist Ilua Hauck da Silva, whose work featured in the first Aesthetica exhibition this year, greatly enjoyed the experience: “I definitely recommend others to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize – it’s a great opportunity to have your work displayed in such a beautiful setting and to gain recognition for your hard work”.

The next exhibition scheduled for York St Mary’s will be taken from Artist Rooms, the inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland, and will feature internationally renowned American artist Bruce Nauman. Previously featured in a number of international shows, Nauman produced a sound installation piece entitled Raw Materials for the 2004 Unilever Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern. Artist Rooms, which will be on show from 26 July to 10 November, includes work taken from 30 years of Nauman’s career showcasing the constant experimentation and re-invention within his artistic practice.

For more information on York St Mary’s visit and for more information about entering the Art Prize visit The closing date to enter the art prize is 31 August.

1. Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2013, courtesy Jim Poyner and Aesthetica.