THE winner of the 2015 Aesthetica Art Prize will be announced at the exhibition launch night on Wednesday.

Aesthetica, the international art magazine published in York, has teamed up once more with York Museums Trust to present selected works by international contemporary artists at York St Mary’s, York Art Gallery’s contemporary art space in Coppergate.

Now in its eighth year, the award recognises excellence in contemporary art from around the world, awarding £5,000 to the winner, courtesy of sponsors Hiscox, who “look forward to having a display of such critical and dynamic works on the doorstep of our new landmark office here in York”.

Last year’s show welcomed more than 20,000 visitors to the gallery and highlighted artistic talent from Chile, Germany, New Zealand, the United States and Britain. The voting public awarded the prize-winning German installation artist Sybille Neumeyer with the People’s Choice Award for Song For The Last Queen (2013), a powerful piece concerning pertinent environmental issues affecting bees.

Fellow finalist Inés Molina Navea, from Chile, exhibited five composite portraits in a poignant photographic study of gender, identity and social politics. Her work 541 Días was duly acquired by the Hiscox Collection.

Now the focus falls on artists from Australia, Japan, Germany and Britain. They will be exhibiting photographic and digital art, three-dimensional design and sculpture, painting and drawing, and video, installation and performance.

More than 3,500 entries were received from 60 countries, from which eight have been shortlisted for the exhibition and a further 92 long-listed for publication in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology.

Topics range from “an exploration into our universal existence, to individual experiences in a world where nostalgia contends with technology and the intensity of urban living masks a true sense of belonging”.

On the shortlist are John Keane, Marcus Lyon, Suzanne Mooney, Julian Day, Vera Drebusch, Owen Waterhouse, Salila Elhoussaini and Matt Parker, artist in residence at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Keane was the official British war artist during the Gulf War in 1991, while Lyon’s photographs are held in collections at the Art Institute of Chicago and Arts Council England.

Keane will be exhibiting four paintings from his Fear series (2012-2013), drawing on imagery of the Moscow show trials in the Stalinist terror of the 1930s; Lyon will show photographs from his Exodus collection (2010-2014), inspired by the resilience of humanity at the edge of existence and global mass behaviours.

Suzanne Mooney’s chosen works, Come Away, O’… (2013) and Tokyo Summit A (2012) are part of a larger body of work, Outside In, that explores observatories with city views of Tokyo. Suspended from the rafters of York St Mary’s, Come Away, O’… will present the viewer with two framed cityscapes, one featuring a silhouetted figure, the other unoccupied. This invites the viewer to become a second onlooking figure as light permeates through the translucent digital artwork.

Australian artist Julian Day’s sound sculpture Requiem (2012) comprises four synthesisers connected by steel bars pressing on keys. This act of resistance prompts a series of persistent tones that add an acoustic element to the exhibition.

Conceptual installation artist Vera Drebusch’s work Preservation (2012) features a collection of containers, whose contents are made from fruits grown in the grounds of foreign embassies in the German city of Bonn. Harvested from plants grown on soil that, consistent with international law, belongs to Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the contents reveal the abstract division of territory. Her second work, Chocolates (2014), consists of forbidden confectionery from the Chernobyl disaster.

Sheffield sculptor Owen Waterhouse’s Möbius 1.00 (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of stainless steel in Sheffield by Harry Brearley. His sculpture features 100 water jet cut profiles united to create a skeletal and elegant form.

Inspired by the complex relationship between the order and disorder found in Chaos Theory, Saliha Elhoussaini’s Interdependence (2014) is a series of drawings that comments on our interconnected universe of natural and man-made systems.

Through the use of layered paper, Elhoussaini works with thread to create a symbiotic relationship between the front and the reverse of her drawings.

Matt Parker’s video installation The Cloud Is More Than Air and Water (2014) reflects the tones of our data-driven world. His exploration of the physical, audio and visual environments generated by man to house the internet “captures technology’s acoustic footprint and the silent hum of our digital selves”.

Cherie Federico, director and curator of the Aesthetica Art Prize, says: “This year’s exhibition raises the bar for creative excellence, featuring leading artists in painting, photography, installation and film.

“Each piece comments on issues relevant in today’s society and offers a momentary pause from everyday life to reflect on both our universal and individual experiences.”

The exhibition will run from Wednesday’s 6.30pm private view and award ceremony until May 31, open Thursday to Monday, 10am to 4pm with free admission.

Visitors can vote for their winner in the People’s Choice Award; voters will be entered into a free prize draw with a chance to win a night out for two in York, including a meal and drinks to the value of £100 at The Star Inn The City, two tickets for any film at Reel Cinema York and champagne cocktails at 1331 in Grape Lane.