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As part of Hertfordshire Year of Culture, St Albans Museum + Gallery and UH Arts are delighted to launch the first Hertfordshire Open, brought to you in digital form rather than the planned exhibition in St Albans.

This spectacular showcase introduces artworks by 50 artists connected to Hertfordshire who were selected from nearly 200 submissions. We are sharing works created by established and emerging artists, as well as first-time exhibitors. The wealth of visual art mediums is celebrated across painting, drawing, sculpture, prints, textiles, film, photography and found objects.

The 80 artworks are presented across four virtual gallery spaces, to offer viewers a curated selection of pieces that share thematic similarities and/or aesthetic sensibilities. The galleries will be launched individually between Friday 3 April and Tuesday 14 April.

Chosen by an independent panel of judges, the Hertfordshire Open provides a vital snapshot of art production within the county at the start of a new decade. Immersion in the exhibition reveals the talent, diversity, commitment and ambition within the artist community. We hope that this exhibition and future initiatives will further establish this critical mass of artists and shine greater light on Hertfordshire’s rich creative ecology.

The exhibition online galleries are hosted between and and you can explore in two ways. Below you can visit the four virtual galleries curated by the team at UH Arts or alternatively you can explore the artist's individual pages on our website.

This exhibition is part of the Hertfordshire Year of Culture #HYOC2020

Exhibition curated in partnership with

Visit this exhibition at UH Arts online

Hertfordshire Open 2020

Gallery 1 – Now Open

The first gallery features a collection of large sculptural pieces, as well as wall-based works. This diverse group share a tactile quality that awakens a sense of touch and sensory exploration – we imagine running our hands over soft threads, cold metal, rough wood, textured paper and wet clay. Artists play with the poetic and emotional potential of a range of materials, others repurpose found objects to give them new meaning and potency.

Gallery 1 Artists Aid & AbetHannah AinsworthAnji ArcherMichael BradshawGiulia CacciuttoloLil CahillFiona ChaneyBethany FreemanSuman GujaralEleanor Havsteen-FranklinYva JungPermindar KaurJamie KirkMaria MeyerSimeon Nelson, Anna RayGrace WoodcockEsther Wragg and Stephen Wragg.

Gallery 2 – Now Open

Enter the second gallery which explores the theme of landscape through both conventional and surprising approaches. A sense of place is conjured through abstract paintings, printed compositions, ceramic interpretations, photographic works and paper cuts. Enjoy two-dimensional pieces alongside a cabinet of curiosities – a collection of small, intimate pieces that introduce further themes of domesticity, identity and reclamation.

Gallery 2 Artists Amanda Ralph, Amy Harman, Andrew Szczech, Charlotte McClelland, Dave Nelson, Diane Maclean, Hannah Ainsworth, Janie Graham, Jean Atkinson, Judith Moule, Julie Leaming, Katy Gillam-Hull, Laura Marsden, Margaret Rice and Nina Fraser

Gallery 3 – Open Now

In the third space the viewer is confronted largely with works exploring people – from formal portraits, groups and figures in a landscape. Each depiction carries its own narrative, ranging from content that is biographical, poignant, topical to controversial, disturbing and/or political. Many of the works here share aesthetic values that are vibrant, bold and reflective of contemporary culture.

Gallery 3 artists Alex Ayliffe, Aran Illingworth, Alexandra Barakova, Amy Harman, Clair Lycett, David Stein, Freya Pocklington, Harry Woodgate, Harriet Riddell, Helena McGrath, Henriette Busch, Imogen Welch, Robbie O'Keeffe and Sally Gorham.

Gallery 4 – Now Open

At first these three films appear contrasting, yet on closer consideration they present many shared qualities. All depict a human activity – sweeping, collecting, painting – all of which are ritualistic, rhythmic and accumulative.

Gallery 4 artists: Robert Verrill, Yva Jung and Allistair Covell 

Sweeping Dust - Robert Verrill (2018)
Video 2:02 minutes


Morning Dew- Yva Jung (2019)
Video 4:04 minutes


To The Beat - Allistair Covell (2019) 
iPad painting animated film 4:11 minutes


Arts Activities Online

The Hertfordshire Open 2020 Online forms part of a wider programme of activities to help people access the arts from their homes. UH Arts has developed a collaborative project with artists to provide creative activities for all ages to enjoy at home at and is also posting content online @UniHertsArts each Wednesday exploring the extensive Art Collection at the University, including sculptures, photography and painting.

The St Albans Museums collection is also available to explore online at and the museums team will be sharing some of the most fascinating objects and local stories on @stalbansmuseums across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Hertfordshire Open 2020 is the seventh partnership project between St Albans Museum + Gallery and UH Arts, the University of Hertfordshire’s arts and cultural programme.  The partnership has already secured a number of firsts - the first exhibition outside of London in 2018 for Hayward Gallery’s touring exhibition Hand Drawn and Action Packed, and last year thousands of visitors flocked to see Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 – an exhibition which explored a significant period in the life of one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and saw several of her works united for the very first time. We hope you enjoy our first online exhibition.

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