New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond

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Surrey Artist of the Year 2021

25 September to 6 November 2021

Surrey Artist of the Year 2021

Come and vote for your favourite Surrey artist and support the local talent with us.

The Surrey Artist of the Year competition is a partnership between the New Ashgate and the Surrey Artists Open Studios to celebrate the wealth of creative talent in Surrey. Starting in 2009; this aspirational exhibition offers a collective of local quality arts and craft as voted for by the public during open studio visits. The top scoring artists come together for a programme of events. There is a wide variety of artworks on show, including different materials and techniques such as painting, glass, textiles, ceramics, collage / assemblage book and paper art.

Again, during the exhibition, until 22th October, 12noon, members of the public are encouraged to vote for an artist; and the artist with the most votes from public and judging panel, is named Surrey Artist of the Year 2021 on 22nd at 7pm. The winner receives a bursary of £1,500, a solo show at the New Ashgate Gallery and a complementary Winner's Stand at the Surrey Contemporary Art Fair.

The shortlisted artists in 2021 are: Sophie Artemis, Monique Birley, Sarah Cox, Penny Fleet, Keira Graham, Penny Green, Hilary Jones, Yeside Linney, Alison Orchard, Stephen Pitchforth, Sue Ransley, Louise Rowe, Jo Shepherd, Jessica Stroud, Dawn Thornhill and Jean Tolkovsky.

The season includes workshops for adults, families and artists - please contact us for information.

The competition is organised by New Ashgate Gallery in partnership with the Surrey Open Studios. It is supported by the Patricia Baines Trust and Contemporary Art Fairs. The Surrey Life magazine, which has a monthly section dedicated to the local art scene, is the official media partner of the competition.

Monique Birley

Goat Herder (FR)

Acrylic on Board

Ref: 111150

87 x 66 cms


Monique Birley

As an introverted child, Monique was always tucked away drawing. Her grandfather, well-known South African artist Otto Klar, saw potential in the big bold drawings coming from this tiny, shy girl and encouraged her to keep drawing every day. Monique studied fine art at the Technicon Pretoria - specialising in silk screening, etching, life drawing, jewellery, and ceramics. Monique went on to pursue a career as a goldsmith, completing an apprenticeship at Vienna Jewellers. She has been self-employed since, taking a break to raise children, all of whom are artistic. She started painting after moving to England, inspired by the winter light and how to capture this in paint - first in watercolour, then acrylics.

Monique's love of painting started as a love of the countryside, big skies, colour, and urban and rural shapes. She recalls that she was intrigued by nature and confused by people. After the fine controlled and detailed work as a goldsmith, Monique relished in the loose freedom of expression that paint offered. I try to capture a moment or a feeling, rather than an identical likeness. The more I paint, the more I want to paint.

New Ashgate Gallery
Waggon Yard, Farnham GU9 7PS

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Art Gallery of the Year 2021: Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards
  • Farnham Craft Town
  • New Ashgate Gallery