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Call for Exhibition Proposals!

Deadline for entries: Midnight, 31st August 2014

O3 Gallery are currently accepting exhibition proposals for 2015. Whether you are a solo artist, artist group or independent curator we’d love to hear from you! To submit an exhibition proposal please email along with the following information:

• A covering letter, outlining how you wish to use the space, when you would prefer to exhibit and a guide to the prices you normally charge for your work.

• Up to 20 images of your work in low-res jpeg format. (Please label all your images with title, size, medium and date.)

• An up to date Curriculum Vitae.

• An Artist Statement.

• Links to any web pages with more work/information.

Please send all emails for the attention of Helen Statham, O3 Gallery Director. Selected exhibitions will run for approximately 3-4 weeks and are curated, installed, marketed and promoted by the O3 Gallery. The cost of this is heavily subsidised by the gallery, however as we function on a not-for-profit basis, for the benefit of the local community, we do require artists to pay an exhibitions fee of £375* in order to contribute to the costs.

*Exhibitions fees are £375 for selling exhibitions, alongside a gallery commission rate of 40%. The exhibition fee for non-selling exhibitions is £1,500 for a 3-4 week period.

For each selected exhibition the O3 Gallery purchases a piece of artwork to form part of the Oxford Castle Art Collection.




O3 Gallery Prize for Contemporary Art Criticism Winner announced!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of our O3 Gallery Prize for Contemporary Art Criticism is Alice McAndrew, from St Peter’s College, Oxford. Congratulations Alice!

Alice’s winning entry was a review of the Ashmolean Museum’s ‘Francis Bacon, Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone’ exhibition which took place between 12th September 2013 and 19th January 2014.

Alice’s review will be published on the O3 Gallery website (please see below!)

Alice will also be invited to a write a further piece of critical writing for the publication and contemporary online arts and culture journal, The Flaneur.

Alice’s review was selected by the following judges, please see their comments below:

Jonathan Powell (editor of The Flaneur)
“Alice’s review gives readers something of the sense of having visited the exhibition themselves. She brings up some interesting comparisons between the works of the two artists and recognises the importance of the curation. She’s not afraid to actually bring some criticism into art criticism. Well done.”

Tom Snow (postgraduate research student and teaching assistant in the History of Art Department at University College London, contributor Frieze Magazine and Afterall, amongst other contemporary art publications)

“Like all good short reviews, Alice engages in a dialogue with the works exhibited. This includes a consideration of the qualities immanent to works themselves, their relation to each other, and importantly, their relationship to the space of exhibition.”

Joao Philippe Reid (consultant curator at O3 Gallery, contributor to US Arts Blog Hyperallergic)
“A well-written and inciteful engagement with the exhibition; importantly, the argument bypasses the themes the Ashmolean would like us to dwell on and goes straight for the curatorial jugular. An erudite critique of blockbuster glitz and the craft of curating.”

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our judges, our collaborative partner The Flaneur and our project coordinator Emma Mansell; without her hard work and dedication this project would not have been possible.

And congratulations once again to Alice McAndrew!

Look out for future competitions from the O3 Gallery, the next winner may be you!

Bacon, Moore and the Art of Curating

Art subordinated. This is what we see at the Ashmolean Museums ‘Francis Bacon, Henry Moore: Flesh and Bone’ exhibition (12 September 2013 to 9 January 2014). Not because the art is insignificant, but rather because the theatre of juxtaposition in itself steals centre stage.

Clearly, this is not the first time Bacon and Moore have been displayed together. A cabinet of catalogues greet the viewer at the exhibition entrance, with faded cut-outs revealing a history of simultaneous presentation. Yet, turning the corner to be confronted by bacons Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (1963) watching over Moore’s Falling Warrior (1956-1957), the conspicuously analogous nature of the exhibition quickly becomes inescapable.

Across three rooms (comparing early work, sculptural influence, the impact of war, monumental forms, the crucifixion theme, the placement of figures in space and representations of heads), we are walked through a dialogue of the artists’ ‘shared’ visions of the human forms.

Direct comparisons are ubiquitous. This becomes particularly advertised when a painting by Bacon, such as Portrait of a Man with Glasses III (1963), is seen through a sculpture by Moore, such as Animal Head (1951). The visual language of the circle, in the voids and spectacles, seems unavoidably harmonious. But, whether such simple comparison is appropriate is something that the exhibition calls into question.

Perhaps the most striking ‘conversation’ occurs when we see Bacons Second Version of the Triptych (1988) through Moore’s Three Upright Motives (1955-1956). Parallels of monumentality and triadic structure are blatant. However, focused thematic comparison seems to unduly minimise certain nuances. While Moore’s work offers a static harmony of piles forms, Bacon’s tortured figures seem to revel in their mobility and elasticity.

The exhibition’s juxtaposition foreground similarities. But, interestingly the comparative shortcomings are just as compelling as the successes.

Rough incised markings on Falling Warrior patently echo the gestural, sculptural quality of Bacon’s brushstrokes in Portrait on Henrietta. But, besides superficial surface similarities, the media, subject and sentiment are polar. Bacon’s painting houses its figures in pictorial space, whereas Moore’s sculpture is ‘contextless’, meaning that the viewer is intimately engaged with same space as the subject. Bacon’s work parades exotica, Moore’s contemplates death. Essentially, the viewer is confronted by Bacon’s figure, whereas the viewer is encouraged to confront Moore’s.

Equally, some comparisons of subject seem more forced that substantial. In Bacon’s Study from the Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1965) the subject’s face is debased: a white-rose smear seems thrown at the subject with callous indifference. Moore’s King and Queen (1952-1953) seems the antithesis os the animistic treatment of the human body: the calm demeanour of Moore’s wafer-like duo is rendered delicately, with the Queens hand tentatively clasped together.

After the brutal force of Bacon, the sentimentality of Moore’s work seems pronounce. However, when encountering Moore’s Sleeping Positions (1940-1941) – which shows eight convulsive bodies strewn across an apocalyptic landscape – we are reminded that Moore was equally capable of grating, unglamorous depictions.

Some works seem to fit uncomfortably with both artists. A conventional view of Moore’s work is shattered when we stumble across Three Points (1939-1940); the geometric sculpture’s untarnished surface seems not to speak in Moore’s tongue, let alone Bacon’s. When ideas within an artist’s repertoire seem divergent, how can a stable comparison between two artists ever be drawn?

Indubitably, art is always encountered in a selective, contextualised format. Looking at Moore’s Reclining Figure: Festival (1951) in the light of the ambiguous, but clearly constructed, private world of Bacon’s Figure in a Mirror (1971), we notice interior-exterior tensions. Moore’s mottled green-black sculpture, in clear rapport with nature, would be conceived quite differently outdoors, While Bacon can create a space for his work, Moore is forced to rely on the curator’s sensibilities and accept that the gallery  cannot satisfy the want of space his work demands.

Practical constraints become implicitly highlighted through the comparative endeavours. The soaring height of Moore’s Three Upright Motives means that it could not be housed in the exhibition’s final room. Instead of reaching a crescendo, the third room displays less imposing works. The comparisons do not purely reflect the force of curatorial imagination, rather an imaginative attempt to compare the two artists within the given conditions.

Essentially, the exhibition is a pure experimentation in the performance of curating. It shows us that by comparison we can undercover nuances in artworks we had not previously been attuned to. However, its direct – and often strained – comparisons also force us to consider the extent to which any comparison is more that just superficial. What we see is clearly manipulated by the way we see it. The art historian John Berger’s famous words, “The meaning of an image is changed according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it”, are challenged in an enthralling visual enactment.

By Alice McAndrew



O3 Gallery Internship

(Voluntary position. Based on a three month internship of 3 half days per week.)

O3 Gallery is a high quality, contemporary art space that offers the public affordable, original artwork, in the heart of Oxford Castle Quarter. The gallery is open to the public six days a week throughout the year and has no admission fee. Proudly describing itself as the friendliest gallery in Oxford, O3 Gallery endeavours to be a welcoming centre for artistic activity and achieves this through the delivery of varied, high quality exhibitions and events related to all aspects of the arts, created for the benefit of the local community and visitors to the area.

An internship with us would suit an arts student at Bachelor’s Degree / Masters level, or a recent graduate who is looking to gain experience and knowledge in a gallery environment.

Our internships generally involve working on projects under the supervision of gallery staff, but will also require a great deal of creative thought and initiative. Interns may be involved in such areas as administration, marketing or exhibition installation. We also have opportunities to run events related to the gallery exhibition programme.