The competition was open to all artists, whether amateur or professional within a 25-mile radius of Banbury and this year’s entrants will be the first in to be exhibited in the museum’s recently extended and refurbished Pye Gallery..
The competition attracted over 200 entries in a wide range of media from traditional paintings to sculptures, textiles and an installation using clothing created with pulped newspaper. Sixty-nine of the original entries made the final selection.
Seven entries were shortlisted for the Ironstone Art Prize, but it came down to one winner, Tom Cross of Wroxton for his painting ‘Black Field,’ part of a series of work in which he investigated 'the industrial nature of farmed landscapes that lie below the popular bucolic image of the countryside.'
The independent judging panel were unanimous in their choice of winner, noting the use of the brush strokes to generate texture and depth in the scene of a black field.
Tom has lived in the Ironstone village of Wroxton for 10 years and has built up a portfolio of work responding to the countryside on our doorstep. He works in a variety of media, having trained in fine art and then animation and has recently developed skills in print-making.
Tom also works on a range of projects and relationships with the Banbury community including running an outreach project for the Mill including work with Banbury Young Homeless Project with whom he has made animations and drawings.
He also works with Cherwell District Council, Sanctuary Housing and the Mill running a pop up craft cafe for over 50s in and around Banbury and Bicester.
The competition included an Under 21 category, which was won this year by Charlie Bray for his painting ‘Grand Canyon.’ This category was sponsored by The Artery Art Supply shop with owner Barry Whitehouse presenting Charlie with his winners cheque.
In his speech Barry quoted Picasso who said: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ The Under 21 prize is a way to encourage young artists to grow and continue to develop their artwork in their adult years.
The Ironstone Art Prize also asks visitors to the exhibition to vote for their favourite piece of work and the ‘Peoples Prize’ has been awarded to Sue Jones for her piece ‘Slate Diptych’.
Sue has lived in Oxfordshire since she was 16 and started sculpting in 2009 using a range of materials such as slate, stone and bronze.
Sue said“I am extremely happy to have won this year’s People’s Prize as it is the third year that I have showed work with the Ironstone Art Prize Exhibition.
"I feel it’s a great venue and opportunity for all local artists within a twenty-five-mile radius to showcase their work.”
The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm until March 15.