A NORTHERN artist is asking the public a simple question with her latest exhibition – what is an apology?

Annabel McCourt’s new display at the Civic – titled ‘I’m Sorry’ – will be running until January 20 and explores the reality of apologies and looks into the meaning behind the words.

The artist, from Grimsby, said: “It’s a complete treat to be able to organise my own solo exhibit at the Civic.

“A lot of people find it hard to actually say ‘I’m sorry’ – we live in a litigious society and people struggle to take responsibility for their mistakes.

“We’re forcing people to confront that, ask themselves if they had to apologise, what would it be for?

“This exhibition is a pretty simple idea, but it’s radical in its simplicity.”

Neon was a foundational aspect of the whole artistic venture, playing off Annabel’s love for the material and a push to create more physical, analogue art.

“I’m obsessed with neon – it’s bright, alive and has this delicious quality.

“I’ve done lots of work with tech and I love tech, but it can be very cold.

“I wanted to move away from that, go back to basics and interact with people in person more.

“When making the portraits it was really interesting – not many people have actually touched neon so when they’re holding the signs you can see they’re thinking about whether it’s okay to do this.

“It’s this fluid in their hand that’s constantly evolving, they’re entranced by it.”

The centrepiece of the show is the ‘apology room’, a room painted entirely in black chalk paint with the original neon sign from the portraits displayed.

Chalk is freely available, allowing people to write down their own apologies on the wall and reveal the regrets that they have been carrying.

“There are some apologies there that I’ve seen already,” Annabel added.

“I can be quite a grim, dystopian person and my work is usually quite gnarly.

“Here though I was thinking about what connects us, and try to bring people together.

“Honestly I’ve done all sorts of mad things, but this is the work that I’m most proud of.”

Curator at the Civic, Elizabeth Dickinson, said: “We’re excited to hold space for this empowering and transformative project at Barnsley Civic.

“It’s important to us to be able to support artists in actualising projects that mean a lot to them, so I’m humbled that Annabel has trusted our venue to go on such a personal and vulnerable journey with her.

“I can’t wait for people to experience this visually stunning exhibition and hopefully go on a healing journey of their own.”