Cumbrian Artist of the Year Shortlist: Focus On Monica Metsers

The Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2016 exhibition features over 100 artworks by 47 artists working, living or from Cumbria.

Of these artists 6 were shortlisted for the award. We will be featuring each artist over the coming weeks until the exhibition close on 13th November.

Firstly, Kendal based artist Monica Metsers;


Can you tell us a about your practice and your work featured in the Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition?

My paintings are based on arranged compositions of objects which I collect and adapt, then paint white. I take many photographs of the objects, which I then study to decide on a composition and the effects I would like in a particular painting. I attempt to make ‘dreamscapes’ or ‘mindscapes’ which provide a transformative experience for the viewer. I aim to capture the beauty in both in the ordinary and the strangeness of things. I attempt to portray the sculptural quality of the objects, while retaining an overall dreamlike quality. The two pieces that were selected for the exhibition are very much representative of my recent line of enquiry- experimenting with ‘figures’ in my work and also challenging myself to work with a limited colour palette.


What sort of artist would you describe yourself as?

A Contemporary Surrealist. Although I’m also informed by artists who focused on the intricacy of objects and nature, like Georgia O’Keeffe.


Professionally what is your goal?

I have had some fantastic opportunities along the way- I was awarded second prize in regional competition ‘Open up North’ in 2011, exhibited alongside Francis Bacon and Paula Rego as a ‘painter of the future’ at Abbot Hall Gallery in 2012, and the Tullie House Museum have purchased my painting ‘Lechuguilla’ for their public collection. Looking forward, I hope find Gallery representation, and continue to exhibit far and wide- my work is going on tour around three major museums in China in 2017 (with the collective ‘Contemporary British Painting’) which I’m thrilled about.


What do you think of the exhibition as a whole?

I think it is one of the most inclusive and ambitious exhibitions of Cumbrian work that I’ve seen. From the traditional to the contemporary, it really showcases the breadth and diversity of artistic practice here in Cumbria.

The exhibition continues at The Gallery at Rheged until 13th November. For more details visit

Friday 9 September to Sunday 13 November  •  10am-5pm •  Admission free





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