Whittling down a list of well over 300 entries that cover painting, photography, sculpture, installations, ceramics, illustration and so many other areas of the visual arts was no picnic. It was difficult, distracting, and ultimately delightful. The ten choices that survived each round of paring down are very personal, as is the nature of aesthetics.
Work by Martina Nehrling was bright, bold and built up of wonderful daubs of texture. The mystery surrounding the bundle that Kiersten Essenpreis‘ girls are carrying ever so seriously is as compelling as the colours and composition of her painting. Hugh Symonds‘ series of 45 photos based on Newlyn Harbour focuses on all the elements of a working harbour. Amy Casey‘s work appeals because it is such a reflection of the turmoil that is now – safe as houses, eh? Xavier Nuez makes the gritty parts of the city hold a new appeal, especially through the use of great colour. Jonathan Trotter‘s traditional ceramics techniques and glazes are definitely and delicately in the here and now. Be careful. Valerie Green‘s photo installation of shoppers fuelling a Black Friday economy may eventually be an unrecognizable scenario. The sheer numbers have a great impact. Stefan Thompson is very careful about using non-toxic materials, but it is the whimsical nature of his characters that has made his work a hit with us. It is inevitable that the oeuvre by Pamela Michelle Johnson resonates: iconic treats that are visual treats are always welcome. And Maira Kalman‘s book The Principles of Uncertainty is a treat because it is an easily accessible treasure chest of fantastic illustrations by a very talented artist.