Contents May Vary the artists collective have been nominated. Formed in 2004, this group of MMU Fine Art graduates has, for the past five years, staged a number of innovative group exhibitions and contributed to events as diverse as Artranspennine08, the Northern Art Prize and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Contents May Vary were also shortlisted for HONK, a touring exhibition that featured animation, drawing and performance – but where the ‘gallery’ was in fact the back of a white van.
Rachel Goodyear has been shortlisted for a portfolio of beautiful, yet unsettling, pencil and watercolour drawings. Goodyear has recently exhibited at Cornerhouse in Manchester and as part of Liverpool Biennial at Tate Liverpool in 2008; her work, as you might expect, shows great technical skill. But it is her interest in creating discomforting, ambiguous narratives, often presented as a ‘cluster’ of drawings unique to each gallery or display space, which drew particular praise from the judges.
Owl Project is another art collective, this time comprised of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. Drawing on influences such as woodwork, hobby-style electronics and open source software, Owl Project has produced a range of semi-sculptural, semi-comical musical instruments that have been exhibited across the UK and Europe and premiered at events such as the Sonic Arts Network EXPO, Lovebytes and Futuresonic. Owl Project has been shortlisted for its portable ‘rustic’ instruments, the iLog, the m-Log and the Log1k.
The judges also awarded special commendations to Nick Jordan, who, with fellow artist and collaborator, Jacob Cartwright, was an artist research fellow at Manchester Museum, and Maurice Carlin, an artist who also founded the Islington Mill Art Academy and co-founded the Sounds from the Other City festival.
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