Issue date: 20 February 2012
Mary Roe, a UWE Bristol final year photography student, has won the bi-annual open arts competition held by Frome's Black Swan Arts Centre.
Her photograph “Mnemosyne” was voted the winning entry by a panel of seven judges from a record-breaking 546 entries to the competition. Mary was awarded a £750 prize which she will spend on photographic equipment.
Mary said, “Winning the Black Swan prize took me completely by surprise and when I looked around at the high standard of work at the exhibition, I was even more surprised that the panel had picked my image. I was so pleased when I was told that my work had been shortlisted and absolutely gob-smacked when I heard I'd won. My work tends to focus on empty and abandoned spaces that have an eerie atmosphere but with a strange beauty that draws the viewer in. My work has changed over the last year because I've started to shoot on colour film, whereas previously I always used black and white.
“This is the first competition I've ever entered my photographic work into and it's been a real boost to my self-esteem and my self-belief that I can be a photographer. The prize money is going to make a huge difference to me and, specifically, to my degree. Photography is an expensive pursuit, what with buying film, paying for processing, printing, frames and cameras so this money will mean I can afford to do exactly what I want.
“The Black Swan has given me the opportunity to produce work that will, hopefully, kick start my photographic career. I am eternally grateful to all those involved in Black Swan Open Art competition for giving me a great start to my future career.”
Casting their eyes over this year's bumper crop of submissions were celebrated painter and film-maker Clive Walley, photographer Tim Mercer, curator Kim Wood and artists Tristan Stevens and Sonja Klinger. They had the hard task of whittling down the entries to a shortlist of just 90 which are now on display at the Bridge Street gallery until 31 March.
“It was a very hard task to get the entries down to what we're finally exhibiting but it's certainly come up to expectations now we can see them on the walls,” said Mr Walley.
Entry to the exhibition is free and visitors now have the chance to cast their vote for their favourite entry. All votes will be totted up for the £150 People's Choice Award, sponsored by the Frome Creative Network.
“We'd like to thank the artists who have come together to support the Black Swan to both judge this competition and put together an exciting programme of forthcoming exhibitions,” said Black Swan trustee chairman Luke Wilde.
Find out more about studying Photography at UWE Bristol
Open Arts Competition 2012 Exhibition Until 31 March
Black Swan Arts Centre, Bridge Street, FROME, BA11 1BB Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 16:00 free