Girl with long blonde hair stands next to an abstract painting of blue and yellow night scene
Octavia Madden, Colour of the Harbour

Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) has announced the winner of the Visitors' Choice award in the THG Open 2023.

The THG Open 2023 at Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) saw 87 finalists chosen from a record number of applications from artists across the South West region.

The Visitors’ Choice Prize was voted for by visitors over the duration of the exhibition (2 September - 28 October 2023). Gallery-goers cast their vote for a favourite piece in the exhibition.

The votes have been counted and THG has announced that emerging artist Octavia Madden is the winner for her artwork 'Colour of the Harbour'.

Octavia is a painter based in East Devon who recently graduated with a Fine Art degree from Aberystwyth University School of Art. Her work explores light, dark and colour through the portrayal of the nocturnal landscape of Aberystwyth.

The winning artwork focuses on Aberystwyth harbour. The triangular, geometric shapes became a motif representing the masts and rigging of the fishing boats. There are reflections of light in the water and the artificial lights of the town are set against the darkness of the sky and mountains.

The painting sits within a larger body of work exploring darkness and light addressing environmental issues such as light pollution and dark sky reserves.

Octavia Madden said,
"As a recent Fine Art graduate and an emerging artist, I feel delighted to have won the Visitors’ Choice Award. I’m sure choosing was very difficult given the quality and diversity of the work on show so thank you to everyone who voted and who made it an honour to receive this prize."

The prize of £100 is kindly sponsored by The Holt, Honiton.

Joe McCaig, owner of The Holt, said,
"The Holt is honoured to sponsor this prize and encourage the many talented artists living and working in the South West. We are thrilled that Octavia Madden has won and wish her every success in her future career."

Councillor Nick Hookway, East Devon District Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure, Tourism and Sport, commented,
"Congratulations to Octavia. This year’s Open exhibition has been the most inspiring yet, showcasing the talent of both established and emerging artists. We would especially like to thank the judges of the Open: Ciara Devaney-Dykes, Ruth Gooding, Dr Ella S. Mills and Heather Penwarden."

Coming up next at THG:
Present Makers 2023 (11 November - 23 December)
Christmas selling exhibition of contemporary craft