Grayson Perry, Cathie Pilkington and others named as judges for major London exhibition of ‘Outsider Art’

Crossrail by Ian Wornst
Crossrail by Ian Wornst

"My hopes for the Outside In exhibition are that I'll find an undiscovered genius who has a sophisticated aesthetic teamed with a raw vision of the world!” Those are the words of Grayson Perry who has been announced as one of the judges for a major new exhibition set to open at Kings Place, London, this autumn (October 28 - January 1 2020)

Environments is the 2019 national exhibition by award-winning arts charity Outside In and will showcase the work of up to 80 artists who identify as facing barriers to the art world.

Grayson Perry will be joined as a judge by artist Cathie Pilkington RA and Robert Travers director and founder of Piano Nobile Gallery, the central London gallery where the exhibition takes place.

The trio will select three winners from the exhibiting artists, with the first getting a solo exhibition at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, and the second and third funds for art materials.

The winners will be announced at the exhibition private view on 8 November where judges will be present. Submissions are still open for artists to be part of Environments until August 19
2019.

The theme is an opportunity for artists to explore their own perspectives on space, place and location.

Inspiration could come from artists’ immediate environment; such as the city or the countryside, the impact of climate change locally or globally, or ideas about what future environments might look like, or how they might be experienced.

The task of selecting the exhibiting artists will fall to Outside In artist James Lake, sculptor Laura Ford and charity ActionSpace director Sheryl Catto.

James, whose work has included taking part in the 2012 Paralympic Gold Run project and has been exhibited at Sotheby’s with Outside In, describes the exhibition as ‘an important opportunity’ for both artists and audiences.

“I'm a firm believer in supporting artists of all abilities to have the chance to show their work and ensure that we don't marginalise people and artists, because they haven’t come from a mainstream or academic background,” he said.

Adding that the platform gives artists ‘a sense of confidence and social inclusion’, James said his hopes for the exhibition are ‘to celebrate and recognise the artistic endeavours of artists who may otherwise not be able to access the recognition and voice that they deserve’.

Environments will be the fifth national art exhibition held by Outside In, but its first as an independent charity, which founder and director Marc Steene says makes it feel even more like a celebration.

“Over the years, Outside In nationals have established a reputation for presenting pioneering, thought provoking and inspirational artwork and to be able to combine that with the prestigious setting of Piano Nobile Gallery, Kings Place, is sure to result in another ground-breaking exhibition,” he explained.

Marc added: “This opportunity has a proven record of having changed lives – and that is not only true of the people who get to showcase their incredible talent and be seen – but also for the audiences who get to experience such a unique offering.

"In this case the exhibition will not only provide a chance to challenge their own preconceptions of art but get a fresh perspective on the environments in which we live too.”