Vickers Fine Art Award
During 2012/13 the World Heritage Site worked with the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award to support the fifth resident artist tasked with responding to a sense of place within Derbyshire.
The award is one of the most generous art prizes within the United Kingdom and this time decided to centre on the Derwent Valley as the inspiration for the artist.
Barley Beal won the award and arrived in October 2012. He flung himself into the project and attended events at the Discovery Days festival and made many contacts up and down the valley.
Barley’s work is portraiture which combines both the figurative and the abstract. The story of the valley has always been about people and what they have done here. The arrival of the large mills in the 18th and early 19th century represented a huge cultural and material shift in the way we live, so it is unsurprising that they have stimulated human actions and stories which demonstrate both achievements and tensions.
These stories are the things that have fascinated Barley during his residency within the Site. He has digested many of them from within the communities and created works that are his own imagined realities.
The work is not of the landscape but draws its inspiration from within it, from the people of the past and present who inhabit it.
The Vickers Fine Art Award is supported by the Derbyshire Community Foundation, The University of Derby, Rolls Royce and Derby Museums.