A HELSTON-BASED artist has been announced as the joint winner of one of the country's most valuable art prizes.
For the first time the £30,000 Threadneedle Prize is awarded to two winners: Cornwall's Lisa Wright and Liverpool's Clare McCormack.
Trained at the Royal Academy Schools, Lisa Wright’s painting The Guilty’s Gaze On The Innocent explores the embarrassment, confusion and awkwardness of adolescence and makes reference to 16th-century portrait painting, possibly influenced by her two-year residency with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
She said: "I am thrilled to be the recipient of the prize. It will enable me to continue my research for this body of work. I think the standard of the whole exhibition is very high and diverse. It is great that Threadneedle Prize can enable artists like this."
Liverpool-born artist Clare McCormack’s work Dead Labour/Dead Labourer is a woodcut portrait of her grandfather, who died of asbestosis after working on building sites for the majority of his life. McCormack uses scaffolding planks as the ground for her print, the rough surface acting as a symbol of the subject depicted.
Works were selected from over 3,500 entries by a panel including Dr Barnaby Wright, curator at The Courtauld Gallery; art critic Laura Gascoigne, and artists Paul Benney and Tim Shaw. All the 111 works on display by 95 artists are eligible for the Visitors’ Choice Award worth a further £10,000.
Benney said: ”Although it’s one's singular responsibility to give full attention to every artwork submitted, it is nevertheless a pleasure to spend what amounted to about 48 hours with the panel on this decision. We arrived at something that felt right for all of us.”
Lewis McNaught, director of the Mall Galleries, who has overseen the prize since its inception, added: “Every year I am amazed not just by the volume but the thought-provoking and high standard of entries. We are also pleased to honour two female winners this year. Even though works are viewed anonymously, this continues a trend with five out of our last six winners being female.”
The winning announcement marks the opening of the exhibition at Mall Galleries, which showcases some of the most exciting artists from across the UK and Europe.
The Threadneedle Prize is the country’s leading competition for figurative and representational painting and sculpture. At £30,000, it is one of the most valuable art prizes in the United Kingdom. The prize was established in 2008 with the continued support of Threadneedle Investments, a leading international investment manager, demonstrating its long-term commitment to supporting the arts.
Through open submission from artists working in Europe, the prize offers established and emerging artists a high profile opportunity to showcase their work at a leading venue in Central London. Previous winners and shortlisted artists include Nina Murdoch, now represented by Marlborough Fine Art, and Rose Wylie, who is currently on show at Tate Britain. All works are for sale, offering collectors and members of the public the opportunity to invest in works from up and coming artists.
With many high profile art prizes tending towards conceptual and abstract works, The Threadneedle Prize deliberately sets out to raise the profile of representational art within the wider context of contemporary visual art practices and provides an important platform for some of the most exciting artists working today.