Feature: 4th Annual Empty Shop Open

Feature: 4th Annual Empty Shop Open

The Empty Shop Open is our largest event which simultaneously celebrates North East Art and our organisation’s existence.

An open submission group show with no brief and no limitation on media, the exhibition is now in it’s 4th year and fast becoming a new tradition for the region’s art scene.

Each year we sift through hundreds of submissions and curate a show based on what we find; selecting a small number of pieces that reflect the range of styles we receive and work together in the space.

The exhibition has been hosted at Empty Shop HQ since 2010 and 2012 is it’s final year in this venue.

*Artist info after the gallery




Joseph White
Joseph white is a printmaker and graphic designer living in Newcastle upon Tyne. He studied History of Modern Art & Design at Northumbria University, Newcastle and has worked as graphic designer for the last 20 years producing work for many arts & cultural organisations in the North East. He has recently returned to printmaking, based at Northern print, and has exhibited locally and nationally.

‘The landing
I’m inspired by familiar surroundings, everyday unremarkable aspects of modernist architecture and their environ, views of ‘nothingness’. My Images tend to be cropped/framed by the views through doorways, windows and overhangs – which appear as part of the composition. The contrast of extreme light and shadow is of particular interest to me, screenprinting the ‘light areas’ of an image on to black paper is an exploration of this. Using ‘watered-down’ white ink, I gradually build up the lightness with successive overprinting repeated in specific areas of the image.

Andrew John Wood (Born 1988, Sunderland).
A 2010 graduate of the University of Sunderland, recurring themes of landscape and society permeate Wood’s work and are sometimes shot through with a slight science fiction tinge. His practice ranges from sculpture, to print, to sound works, taking on whatever medium he feels best fits an idea as it makes the transition from concept to tangible object. Wood maintains a strong DIY ethos and cites his primary influences as his home county of Durham, books, music, nature, walking and driving around.


Graeme Midlebit Patterson
Graeme Patterson is a human man who doesn’t really know how to write a biography in the third person without it sounding a) pretentious b) boring and c) like he isn’t taking it seriously. He studied Media Production at Northumbria University, specialising in animation, but now due to their being another animator called Graeme Patterson in existence, creates under the name Middlebit Patterson. He doesn’t really know what he does artistically, but is aware that some of it is amusing. He thinks that everyone is born with the ability to be creative but most people lose it as they get older and stop messing about with things and experimenting. He genuinely believes that he can teach anyone to do a 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube but will add the condition that the learner must put some effort in themselves (which basically means that if they can’t do it, they’ve not tried hard enough).

“Stick it back on or replace it.”
My friend Karl asked me to make him a picture. He told me he liked balloons; he’s 30 years old. I asked him if he liked tractors as well, but he said, ‘No, just balloons’. I had some flat pack doll’s house furniture which, as a fully grown human man, was of no use to me, so threw them in along with some aerials I’d bought from the Poundshop. Karl and I talked about adding a bit of guttering to the bottom, so that any bits that fell off would be caught and wouldn’t fall onto his carpet.

Upon completion, the picture was animated as a music video for the song ‘Cameras Don’t Click’ by Mr Ben Sir. The video can be viewed on Youtube and Vimeo.


Naomi Baldini
Based around the forgotten lives of strangers, Naomi Baldini’s work surrounds the theme of the found object, re-creating the story behind it through the means of different media. Whilst concentrating of the ideas of the ‘stranger’, Naomi’s main inspiration of her work provides her with odd and intriguing conversations which she then records and incorporates into her work through the form of text.

‘Everything of’
A notebook based on the struggles and trials related to the balancing of research and the paintings of a studying artist, pasted onto a found object mixed with a subconsciously created paint palette Naomi Baldini blends the medias of text and paint together through the inspiration of the found object.



Louise Winter
I’m interested in questioning the fixed identities of objects and materials so they defy usual definitions and expectations, or, as the artist Tom Friedman has commented, ‘Testing what matter is by allowing it not to be’.

Central to my practice are ideas of displacement: is the location of material central to its definition so that if it is displaced from its ‘real’ context can it still be regarded as the same object, where then does it exist, if at all? Within my practice-led research I am concerned with collecting material or found objects from a specific site and moving them elsewhere into a different context, raising questions about how and where an object exists and how the meaning of an object can change resulting in the emergence of ‘non-site’

My practice is investigative in its nature and form, moving between object, process, event and performance. I don’t ‘create’ objects but work with already existing matter to collapse the distance between art and the mundane, exploring the poetic and often absurd potential of the everyday.

‘Untitled’, cable, peg and wheel, 2011
This work consists entirely of found materials and discarded aspects of known objects.

Their seemingly absurd reassembling is intended to question the boundaries of the ‘real’ by creating a tension between the literal and abstract readings of these objects as signifiers by generating a slippage between cause and effect.

The suspension of the piece initially creates a sense of illusion and its deliberate positioning just above the floor enables the piece to move ever so slightly as viewers navigate their way around the work. Ironically, if the wheel was touching the floor the gentle flow of air would not be enough to stir it, it is precisely because the wheel is not touching the floor that perversely allows movement.


James Watts
James Watts is interested in concepts of ritual and the sublime. His current work examines the affect of ritual environments on the viewer and if culture can exist in the non human. He creates environments where the ritual element is present but the practitioners are not, letting the viewer in on a happening that they do not quite understand.

Lumpen forms colonise the gallery space, hovering somewhere between the man made and the organic. Simultaneously representing ritual vessels and developing chrysalises, the forms exude black ichor, suggesting a presence within. A transformation ceremony at a glacial pace, The Gathering represents a perpetual happening in the traditions of a culture we do not understand.


Carly Baker
Carly Baker is a member of Graduate Studios Northumbria and is a painter, drawer and printmaker. She explores surreal and sexual themes disguised in a web of colour and unusual characters.



    • Jan- Feb 2012: 4th Annual Open- Empty Shop, Durham
    • Nov 2011: It Wasn’t What It Is Then- Part Two, Moving Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
    • July 2011: Free Range London- Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
    • June 2011: Visual Arts Degree Show 2011- Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
    • March- April 2011: ‘It Wasn’t What It Is Then’ – The Moving Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
    • Dec 2010: Visual Arts Auction- Northumbria University, Necwastle upon Tyne
    • April- May 2010: Sakaide Grand Art Prix group show- Sakaide Civic Art Gallery, Kagawa, Japan
    • March 2010: ‘We’re All Here Because We’re Not All There’ Group show, Northumbria University
    • December 2009: ‘A Partridge in a pear tree’ installation for Enchanted Parks, Saltwell Park


Awarded 3rd place Sakaide Grand Art Prix 2010

‘Feeding Frenzy’ (oil on canvas)
The piece ‘Feeding Frenzy’ was a turning point in my practice, it is an amalgamation of a hectic, colour filled automatic painting and a surreal storyline. This piece entertains more of a narrative connecting the characters; these originate from scenarios and landscapes in my drawings which are then loosely translated onto canvas. The bold bright colours began from a love of mixed media, collage and pattern, it draws the attention of the viewer as well as being an excellent contrast to darker or sexual themes.


Edgar Ameti
Edgar Ameti’s work evokes a visual diary of everyday- life reflecting simultaneously on both the past and the present. The often large- scale, mixed media drawings, inspired among other things by Renaissance frescoes, are executed on paper and contain a gravity free quality. Objects, cities, residents and countries float timelessly on, and beyond, the surface of the paper. Different visual perspectives intermingle and further enhance an unusual, nomadic harmony, balancing the transient and the defined with equal importance.

Edgar Ameti was born in Albania, where he studied fine art at The Liceu Artistik “Jordan Misja” and The University of Tirana. After moving to North America he studied drawing and painting at Ontario Collage of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work has been exhibited widely in North America and Europe. Currently he lives and works in the UK.

‘The Layers’
Principle to this body of work is the precarious balance between existence and erasure in the ongoing practice and experience of day-to-day life. Tipping Point metaphor relates closely to this work most notably through its focus on distress, recurrence and mediation.

The media used reflect a tension between the ordinary and the extraordinary; void of monetary value and sharply contrasting with the lure of the ruined Renaissance fresco that some of the work evokes. This allows for the manipulation of the ordinary functionality of common materials to extraordinary effect.