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VAO Judges 2022

The VAO appoints members from the contemporary art world to join our expert panel to judge our artist's applications. These members can be artists, writers, art critics, professors, collectors and curators. If you would like to become a VAO judge for our Art Awards then please contact us here


Matthew Burrows

Matthew Burrows MBE (born 1971) is a contemporary British painter and founder of Artist Support Pledge, a global movement in support of artists and makers. Matthew lives and works in the UK and is represented by Vigo Gallery London. Burrows speaks of painting as a form connection and subsistence, dependent on and arising from the ground at his feet. Through the layering of colour and line, Burrows creates images that invite mediation and a slow unraveling of space and experience. He speaks of his work as ‘one of dwelling and ritual, a process of mythologizing, of drawing meaning from the particularities of the environment and his movement in and through it’. His work explores the conditions by which we thrive and connect - individually, communally and cosmologically. Solo exhibitions include Beyond the Garden Wall Vigo Gallery London, London, 2017; Para-Dice Vigo Gallery, London, 2014; Cultic Twister Alexia Goethe Gallery, London, 2009; Anyone Here? Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham, 2003; A Divine Comedy Gloucester Cathedral, touring to Gloucester City Art Gallery, Huddersfield City Art Gallery, 2000-2001. Group exhibitions include Towards Night Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne 2017; Permeable Edge Otter Gallery Chichester 2016 WET AND DRY painting to the edges Observer Building, Hastings, with Gerard Hemsworth and Rose Wylie, 2015; London Twelve Prague City Museum 2012; Selektionseffekte Blain|Southern, Berlin, with Anton Henning, Rachel Howard, 2011;Foolish Romantics Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight, 2010; Layers Seongnam Arts Centre, Korea, 2010;John Moores 24 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2006. Awards and prizes include 20016-19 Artist Fellow University of Chichester, 1999-2000 Artist in Residence, Gloucester Cathedral, 1999-2000; 2006 John Moores 24, Prize Winner, 2006; Artist's Residency, National Gallery, London, 2000-2001

Megan Wright

Senior Curator at Saatchi Art. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration (minor in Cinematic Arts) from The University of Southern California and also attended UCLA as part of their CIDA-accredited program in Architecture and Interior Design. Megan has over a decade of experience in sales and management. She was a founding partner of The Commons Showroom, a contemporary apparel showroom, and has also worked in entertainment and design for companies including CAA, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Waterworks. Megan is motivated by exceptional design and working with collectors to select artwork that elevates their spaces and defines their passions. Favorite artists include Andy Goldsworthy, James Casebere, Pat Steir and Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

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Erin Remington

Manager, Curation and Art Advisory at Saatchi Art. She has a Masters in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University. She studied Art and Art History at American University of Paris, and has over a decade of experience in fine arts. Erin is motivated by exceptional art and working with collectors to select pieces that inspire and elevate their spaces. She believes that art has the ability to inform, inspire, educate, and change how we view the world around us.

Carne Griffith

Carne Griffith is renown for his intricate art incorporating calligraphy inks, graphite and liquids. Carne’s illustration work has seen him collaborate with the British photographer Rankin for a 6-page feature in Hunger magazine as well as featuring in publications worldwide, notably for several covers of the New York Observer and English Heritage magazine. Carne’s work has been used in brand and charity projects including Microsoft, M&S, Peroni, Lakes Distillery and Ibis Hotels. Since establishing his own studio in 2010, Carne has exhibited in the UK and overseas with work shown at the London Original Print Fair, the Royal Academy, Stroke Art Fair, Affordable Art Fair, the London Art Fair and with solo Exhibitions in Brighton, Hong Kong, Milan and Hamburg.

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Juan Bolivar

Born in Caracas, Venezuela (1966), Juan Bolivar is a London based artist, curator and Lecturer in Painting at the University of  Arts London. Bolivar´s paintings employ cognitive games to set up dialectical oppositions between geometric abstraction and a second meaning; challenging and examining this genre´s currency today. His paintings often adopt tragi-comical visions, reinterpreting canons and seminal paintings from this modernist movement, interlaced with popular culture references. 

Solo exhibitions include, Powerage (JGM Gallery, 2021), High Voltage (JGM Gallery, 2017), Back in Black (Horatio Junior Gallery,  2015), I Heart New York (C&C Gallery , 2014), Law & Order (Tim Sheward Projects, 2013), Bat Out of Hell, (Jacobs Island Gallery,  2011), Geometry Wars (John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, 2008) and Home Alone (Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Switzerland, 2008). Selected group exhibitions include New British Painting (John Hansard Gallery, 2004) and East International (Norwich Gallery, Norwich School of Art and Design, 2007). Bolivar received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 2001 and 2009, and in 2014 he was a Prize Winner at the Nanjing International Art Exhibition, China. His work can be found in private collections in the U.K., U.S., Switzerland, Japan and South America, and public collections in the U.K., including the Government Art Collection, Goldsmiths College, University of London, and the University of the Arts London Collection. Recent residencies include Flow Art Residency, (FAR) Zug, Switzerland (2022), Macro Asilio Residency, Macro Museum Rome (2019), and Visiting Artist, Bauhaus Foundation, Dessau (2019)

As an independent curator Bolivar has curated over 50 exhibitions since 2001.

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Rosalind Davis

Davis is a passionate and dedicated art professional directing arts organisations and curatorial projects and was the Curator at Collyer Bristow Gallery (London 2016 -20) Davis has curated over 30 exhibitions to date, the latest was at The Factory Project produced by Thorp Stavri, an ambitious alternative art fair with over 17,000 visitors. 

Davis co-directed Zeitgeist Arts Projects (2012-15) at Bond House Gallery (ASC) and  Core Gallery 2010-12. In both of these organizations she ran a number of curatorial projects and an artists education programme as well as tutorials and art tours. 

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Karen van Hoey-Smith

Karen is an Artist Manager, Fine Art Auctioneer and Consultant Expert with a Degree in Fine Art Evaluation, previously working as a Gallery Manager for Blue Dot Art & Whitewall Galleries – in addition to this was she was also a partner of White Rose Publishing. With a successful history working as an Art Broker, having sold pieces for the likes of Banksy, Karen found that she was representing and helping Artists on a regular basis achieve more sales and reaching their goals. Now she has joined forces with The VAA as our Artists Mentor.

Dr Jeremy Turner

Jeremy is Deputy Head of Art & Design and Programme Leader in Fine Art at the University of Chester. He holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Manchester Polytechnic, an MA Fine Art from Bretton Hall College and a PhD in sculpture by practice from the University of Leeds. Jeremy is a sculptor and Fine Art practitioner who has exhibited widely in the UK and Europe. He is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and has sculptural works held in private collections.

Cliff Richard MBE, judge for the Visual Art Open Prize, an artist opporunity for those living in the UK & Abroad

David Kereszteny-Lewis
Artist & Director of Visual Arts at The Grange School

David holds the current position of Director of Visual Arts in Cheshire at the prestigious Grange School. Also a practicing artist, David offers expertise in the technicalities of visual artwork creation.  

Previous VAO Judges

Lisa Edwards

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Lisa works at the Grosvenor Estate, where she has managed the Grosvenor fine art collection since 2016. Prior to this, Lisa completed a Master’s Degree in Cultural History at The University of Liverpool in 2012. An aspiring curator, Lisa worked in a variety of roles as a graduate at Tate Liverpool, English Heritage and Canal & River Trust museums and completed a Collections Management traineeship. Lisa has always had a keen interest in art and antiques. In 2007 she participated in the Young Artists in Tuscany programme where she studied the art of the Italian Renaissance in Italy and produced work in a range of media.

Richard Hopkinson

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Richard has a BA degree in the History of Art and is Hon. Deputy Chairman of the Grosvenor Museum Society, the ‘friends’ and fundraising charity for Chester’s Grosvenor Museum.  He has been delighted to meet many artists and, while he does not consider himself “a collector”, his home is filled with pictures. Richard has worked in the picture departments of several auction houses and as an art auctioneer since 1980. His job involves viewing and valuing paintings from around 1600-2000. He started his career in London and Surrey and moved to Chester with his wife and family to be Picture Specialist for Bonhams North West, based in Chester, in 1994.  He considers himself extremely fortunate to have worked with paintings for so many years.

Emma Rodgers, MA, Fellowship at

John Moores University Sculptor

Emma Rodgers is one of the most sought after and highly collectable sculptural artists globally, exhibiting worldwide including the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum Prize, Stricoff Fine Art N.Y., Lineart –Ghent, Cork Street London, Royal Academy of Art,  The Saatchi Gallery, Chicago and New York. Art Paris at the Grande Palais Paris and Singapore. Emma has exhibited and lectured at The Prestigious Isaac Newton Institute,  Cambridge University. Held in several major collections, which include National Museums & Galleries, Mark Carney, and Ellen Degeneres.

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Phil Redmond CBE


Phil is well known for creating several popular television series such as Grange HillBrookside and Hollyoaks. He was appointed a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to drama. In 1989, Phil was awarded the post of Honorary Professor of Media Studies at Liverpool John Moores University, where he is encouraging a new, practically-orientated, media studies course. In November 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Chester and Phil is Chair of National Museums Liverpool and of the UK City of Culture Independent Advisory Panel.

Alexis Redmond MBE

Alexis, the wife of Phil Redmond, has spent the past year in the role of the High Sheriff of Cheshire which is is an independent non-political Royal appointment. She received an MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace for her services to the community in Merseyside. Alexis is a trustee of the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal, Liverpool John Moores University and National Museums Liverpool.

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Adrian Sumner from Chester, judge for the Visual Art Open Prize, an artist opporunity for those living in the UK & Abroad

David Klein

After starting his working life in engineering David assisted the sculptor John Jennings and realised his passion for sculpting. From there he undertook a Fine Arts degree at Staffordshire University. He then continued his studies with a postgraduate course in figurative sculpture at Frink School of Sculpture. Davids core belief is that form is the beating heart of sculpture. 

Wendy Connelly

Wendy graduated from Central St. Martins and in 1991 was given an honorary membership to the Chelsea Arts Club. Her work has been represented by major galleries both nationally and internationally including Barnard Jacobson Gallery in London and recently Lakeside Gallery, Michigan, USA. Wendy is passionate about paint as a medium and explores pushing it to its raw qualities. She also runs art tuition workshops to inspire children through art.

Frances Ackland Snow, judge for the Visual Art Open Prize and artist represented by Whitewall Galleries. the VAO is an artist opporunity for those living in the UK & Abroad
Frances Ackland Snow, judge for the Visual Art Open Prize and artist represented by Whitewall Galleries. the VAO is an artist opporunity for those living in the UK & Abroad

Frances Ackland-Snow

Frances completed a Fine Art Foundation Course at Oxford before specialising in painting at Brighton University where she achieved a first class degree in Fine Art Painting. She became a scenic painter with the BBC. Frances went on to develop her career as a fine artist and has since enjoyed great commercial and critical success. Her work is widely exhibited across the UK and Europe and her paintings are in private collections around the world.

Barry Davies

Intrinsically artistic and previously trained as a precision engineer, Barry started up a small business in 1989 as a cabinet maker. The carving rapidly developed to sculpture and realizing the need to extend his knowledge of the traditions of sculpture, he studied Art History with the Open University. Barry’s passion for anthropology, palaeontology and anatomical study has led him to not only create bronze sculptures but also tutoring classes in clay modelling of these subjects. Since 2010 Barry has exhibited his sculptures in the UK and Europe including Chester Arts Fair,  Chelsea London, Uffizi gallery, Florence, Bramante Halls, Rome, Flagini Palace, Venice, Verona and Barcelona.

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