This year’s exhibition includes a shortlist of eight artists, selected from several hundred submissions by Cheryl Jones (Director of Grand Union, Birmingham), George Vasey (art writer and curator at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland) and Phoenix Gallery curator Matt Burrows.
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD WINNER - 2016
Born in the USA, Michelle Conway has been working in Ireland for the past 26 years. She considers painting as a still space to pay attention without the constant interruption of technology. In these works, communal spaces are emptied to activate contemplation and uncover more complex feelings surrounding loss of human contact as technology advances. She is currently a member of the Turps Banana Correspondence Course (2016-17), and was recently selected for the The BEEP International Painting Prize 2016.
Jamie Fitzpatrick’s work aims to heighten and question the experience of encountering objects associated with the aesthetic of authority and power – such as historic busts and public statues. Constructed from fragments of cast statues, with crudely modelled surfaces of foam and coloured wax, their grotesque forms invert symbols of patriarchy, hierarchy and imperialism. Simultaneously seductive and repulsive, his grubby, cheeky and irreverent sculptures seem to imply some transgressive act – even dispensing with traditional static form, to spit dirty water or engage in clumsy animatronics. He lives and works in London.
ADDITIONAL AWARD WINNER - 2016
Study In Hindsight is a close, unsentimental and dislocated conversation between Naomi Frears’ series of short, composite f ilms and a text in f ive parts, read by poet Ella Frears, which ref lects on their relationship as mother and daughter. Based in St Ives, Cornwall, Frears’ practice has recently shifted from one primarily based in painting and printmaking to encompass moving image and related textual compositions. The subjects and scenes that have always been present in her work are treated with a new degree of control and focus - an enhanced sensitivity to that which surrounds and informs her practice.
Based in Newcastle, Susie Green works with a range of media including sculpture, performance and painting, focusing on the human body as a site for intimacy and sensuality. Embracing slippages between her lived and imagined experiences, she attempts to give form to her formless feelings and desires, embracing themes of fluidity, fragility, sexuality and rapture - often shaping these through unfurling loose forms.
In the performance work Fluid Medium, she acts as life model, tutor and performer, facilitating a drawing class that employs the creative talents of her audience, who draw directly onto the gallery walls.
Sources for this Bristol based artist’s paintings come from everyday places, from memories or psychological states or an impression of mood at a certain time of day. His reduced palette aims to create a subtle illusion where depth and surface play against each other and finished paintings grow from many revisions. Layers are added and wiped away, partly or completely, the speed or slowness of his mark tracing the sweep of an arm, feeling the way towards a simple visual statement. These gestures and layering not only communicate a sense of actual time, but also give each painting a sense of its own internal time.
MOVING IMAGE AWARD WINNER - 2016
Born in the Netherlands, Dorine van Meel now works between Berlin, Amsterdam and London. Her practice is situated within and between the media of moving image, writing and installation. Through the use of diaristic and intimate analyses of personal observations and conversations, mixed with reflections on Twitter feeds, news items and music videos, her work attempts to expose current structures of power, whilst at the same time considering modes of resistance. Her video work Disobedient Children sets out to unravel the relationship between our own desires and those formulated by others for us.
James Parkinson’s Bristol based practice explores the porous boundaries between the actual and the virtual. The ephemeral interaction between liquid plaster and a once hollow volume, pressed and shaped with intention, creates a range of tangible artefacts, in the way a glove takes on the character of the hand that wears it. Informed by techniques in conservation and archaeology, he makes works using the processes of casting to record and manipulate form and information otherwise lost or unseen.
Their apparent emptiness reveals, on closer inspection, imprints and traces of contact - a partial index of something transpired.
OVERALL AWARD WINNER - 2016
US born Devlin Shea currently lives and works in London. Her work investigates the subtleties and ephemeral gestures of everyday moments depicting human intimacy and its psychological imagery. The line of the drawing is confronted by the physicality of the paint, which both heightens and veils the emotional weight of the scene. The line between memory, truth, surface and depth are indistinct. The figures can appear to be caught somewhere between humour and stark vulnerability. These works, painted variously on canvas, panel and acetate are drawn from her recent body of work Emotional Giants
There will be an accompanying programme of Artists Moving Image artworks, screened in Studio 74. Joining works from artists featuring in the main exhibition will be further works from artists Anne-Marie Creamer, Nick Jordan, Thomas Yeomans.