We’re very pleased to announce the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2017 Shortlisted Artists. The 25 selection reflect the growing diversity we are seeing within those who enter, with Artists hailing from as far as Canada, Germany and South Korea, this year see’s the Artists looking at themes such as our relationship to technology, sexuality and self in the fast changing and volatile culture we are currently surrounded by.
We’ll be sharing works of art by the Shortlisted Artists over the coming months as well as continuing to share all of our entrants, so do keep your eye on our social media pages, interact, offer constructive criticism and support each other’s development. As a prize we focus on supporting the development of Emerging Artists so we not only want to share the visuals but the words behind each shortlisted Artist’s practice, read on to discover this year’s Shortlist, enjoy the work but also enjoy excerpts from their Artists Statements - pay attention to how they have written their statements – style, structure, content.
I am in a constant state of redefining my process and aims as a painter. At the heart of my work there is a fascination with the endless possibilities within paint, how to transform a two-dimensional space into something with narrative or the possibility to transport the viewer but the most important part of painting for myself is to get caught up in the process and allow a conversation to happen between myself and the painting.
The work often hovers in a place between figuration and abstraction which allows the viewer the space to impose their own interpretation.
Katy Sayer Green
This acrylic and oil painting is part of a new body of work that represents a departure from my recent focus on Encaustic painting. I am still working with Encaustic and this work runs parallel; however, these works draw on the way I use Encaustic i.e. multi-layering, windows upon windows and making visible what has gone before.
“At a time in history, when brutalism is commonplace and where so much is dishonored and where the most foolish sound-bites or even false news carry weight and influence; formats that recognize the world we can touch and feel, hesitation, history, the environment, uncertainty, inclusion, truth and humility are more urgent than ever.”
My recent work has been an exercise of stepping back. When in the past I would always be stepping forward, and pushing my work over the line maybe too much, experimentally and conceptually. Recently I've been attempting to step back in order to know how much further I may need to step forward again. This is how I have been exercising the way I look at the world and how I attempt to come closer to it. Through this the work has become an analysis of experience. Mind mapping is a key phrase when thinking about this work.
I am a recent graduate from the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, and create work comprising drawings, stories and installations. I will be starting a Masters at the Royal College of Art next year. Within my work I try to create a world in which an individual can think and consider, a place fragmented yet captivating. Through a detailed and intricate web of objects, drawings and words, I hope that a viewer might be led to reflect on, shift and question their place within any number of worlds and realities. Narrative runs through my practice and I am greatly influenced by histories and mythologies that permeate civilization, as well as the great and irresistible capacity of the natural world and the tangled threads that connect humankind.
Ancient Chinese culture saw the development of a traditional way of making art, which was to take advantage of a scene to express one’s emotions. Throughout history, people in China have adapted this idea to write poetry or create ink paintings. But these painted landscapes are not real landscapes; they are invented by the artists that made them. I also seek to express emotion through painting. Though my approach differs from the traditional one, the landscapes I depict are also unreal; they are composed of illusion and memory. I call them fake landscapes. The fake landscapes that I paint aim to rebuild places from memories and feelings.
Eleanor Langton explores colour, shape, perspective and pattern in her paintings that sway
between figuration and abstraction. Her vibrant and quirky still-life paintings are investigations into the value we place on objects whether they are sentimental, perishable or disposable. Objects, shapes and patterns are simplified and flattened into the picture plane to depict an off kilter perspective. The artist’s collection of mid-century furniture interacts with modern everyday objects bringing together elements of both the present and the past. The domestic subject matter is brought up-to-date by the use of vivid colour and striking patterns that reference the urban environment, mid-century textiles and prints.
I am a contemporary figurative artist working in oil on canvas and find my work to be informed by
the creeping influence of the digital realm. This sphere that we participate in casually within our day to day life seeps into our unconscious and I feel this influences my artistic practice. Whilst browsing through feeds and skimming streams of data I am constantly soaking up ideas and finding relationships, imagined narratives between disparate threads of information, fragments of pictures, colours and these are used as my references. I hope to incite emotion through my choice of imagery and colour palette.
I am a lesbian that paints primarily male subjects feel my work seeks to bring balance to the realm of portraiture which is saturated with paintings of women by heterosexual male artists
My intention is for my art work to be multi layered. I want the viewers understanding of my
artwork to evolve over time. I hope the artwork will be enjoyed and that viewers will have some emotional reaction to the work, even if they don't fully understand it. I believe once an art work is completed, the meaning of the art work then becomes the domain of the viewer’s important for the viewer to put their own interpretation on the work even if it differs from my original intention.
It seems a little late to be entering a competition for emerging artists at the age of 76. But I only started painting in earnest seven years ago and you are only young once! Shortly before my 'retirement' after a lifetime in PR, I found a brilliant art teacher and with his help started planning the next stage of my life. I had early encouragement when in 2010 I found a lovely little studio and almost immediately Lloyd's Bank chose me as one of 24 artists for its Art of Sport project. Themed around the Olympics it gave me the opportunity to draw and paint rowers. Equally important, I was able to exhibit my work. Currently, I am concentrating on portrait commissions, usually in oils. I am increasingly exploring ideas and narratives as I move a few gentle steps from my more 'academic' work.
Sol Bailey Barker
Sol Bailey Barker is a British artist whose work ties together historical and sociological research
with an inquiry into the power and symbolism of materials. His work often begins with a journey and months of research exploring landscapes and their histories, excavating and collecting objects. Past projects have taken him to the Himalayas, Colombia, Peru, France and Italy where he has created a number of public sculptures and worked alongside communities studying their folklore and exploring local craft and work practices in order to understand regional relationships to materials. Fascinated by the notion of archetypes and the evolution of power symbols from the Neolithic age until the present’s work is a collision of multi-cultural references, which at its core refers to ubiquitous mathematical principles.
Based in London Irish artist Claudine O’Sullivan has gained industry spotlight for her distinctive
hand drawn illustrations, featured in the worldwide Apple Pencil campaign. Her uniquely traditional drawing style has appealed to established brands such as MTV, WeTransfer, Tiger Beer and Derwent Pencils. Claudine graduated from University of the Arts London with a First Class Honors degree in Graphic Design. Her adaptable, design focused approach to art is reflected in the diversity of her commercial portfolio and client base.
I have had a strange life and was late coming to my education in art.
I am a painter, which can be a difficult territory to defend. A painting is not just dealing with a pictorial language, it deals with a physical tactile surface too, and as such bridges between a mental environment of imagery and a physically presence.
Currently I am working with the ambiguity of perception. I am interested in how the mind operates as both witness and partaker of the phenomena around us. How our perception is governed by a mesh of personal viewpoints, unique experiences, cultural environment and universal driving forces.
The approach to my work can probably be best described as an entirely personal commentary on
our reaction to the present-day function and handling of visual language.
My work mainly deal’s with the effects that light, colour and technology have on memory. I am fascinated by how our increasing use of technology is affecting the way we, as humans, think. Photographs and videos are often taken as a way of capturing events in our lives. These images are then used as prompts for our own reminiscing. Sometimes, I wonder if we are becoming too reliant on the pictures we have taken rather than using our brain's natural memory function.
I have tried to express these thoughts and feelings in my work by trying to paint everything as if it has been affected by some sort of digital glitch or malfunction. Each painting represents a split-second recollection of an event in someone's life and the emotions it has unearthed.
Katy uses her experience gained working as a medical doctor to inspire her artwork. She uses a
range of materials including sculpture, found objects and book arts to communicate a range of concepts and experiences relating to the medical field.
Her most recent work ‘Frailty Awareness Project’ communicates a number of experiences of frailty in older people reached the national media and continues to move both non-medical and medical people alike. Katy is interested in taking public health and welfare issues to a wider audience through art.
I paint people. They are usually imagined, occasionally remembered and sometimes they are
models; fragments of bodies that I have found and/or built. Whatever the source, the work proceeds with some urgency as if it were a hunt. Meanings percolate gently through the mixing; attaching and detaching themselves as the arrangements shift. I suspect that at the heart of the process is a question of identity, allied to a suspicion that the real world is as much a product of desire as it is an object.
Marta Metko Skoczylas
I am not a fan of describing my artwork as words tend to overload the nature of simple gesture.
Focusing on human's body I extend Polish painter Peter Potworowski's statement, that the human in painting points out the future direction of art and is never going to be used up. My work oscilates around figurative, scenes tend to escape from 'straight forward' thinking and visualisation.
In the studio, I seek for an original, light gesture that touches my current taste and never follows an 'idea' as such.
My work explores the possibility of the still life to deliver and present assemblages of familiar everyday elements in a visually interesting and coherent composition.
With my work, I am exploring the interaction of sculpture and the environments in which they are
situated. More precisely, I develop pieces as tools or instruments for the manipulation of light; natural or artificial. Rather than creating autonomous objects, my work exists as a channel for reflecting, filtering, bending, blocking, and coloring light. The light which encounters the sculpture subsequently animates the surrounding surfaces onto which it falls. The piece is the pivotal intervention that creates a juncture between the light source(s) and the registering environment, establishing a dependency on both for activation and manifestation.
Artist and photographer Gillian Hyland describes herself as an image maker Hyland personally composes every aspect of her pictures, a skill gained from 14 years in the visual arts industry.
Hyland creates supernatural staged images, presented as film stills or dramatic moments. Hyland’s unsettling mise-en-scene are full of sex and desire, sadness and nostalgia. Her dramatic photographs are based on her own poems, and depict characters in human dramas and isolated emotional situations. Frozen in time, solitary and vulnerable moments are presented in glorious technicolor and timeless sets.
Helena Perez Garcia
I am an illustrator and designer. I have published two illustrated books in France (Louna au Musée and Bonne Nuit Louna). Among my clients are Publishing Houses like Penguin Random House, Anaya and Santillana. I also regularly collaborate with magazines and other publications like Buzzfeed. My illustrations are mysterious and conceptual, often depicting characters in surreal situations. My work is inspired by art, literature, and cinema.
I express relationships between individuals, individuals and society, and amid societies as wholes. I
find these relationships difficult to comprehend, yet compelling. My works are symbolic visualizations of social relationships, feelings, and my perspectives of these experiences, like a pictorial record. They are the process of analyzing and understanding relationships in my surroundings. Furthermore, they are also devices to capture moments of everyday life which I believe are too meaningful to let pass by. The themes come from my interpersonal problems. I have always wanted to be social and to get along with people, though it has always been difficult for me. Social psychologist David Myers said that proper self-disclosure (the extent to which one person reveals himself to another through communication) is necessary for maintaining good relationships with others. In that respect, knowing one's self accurately is important but it’s something still have not figured out. Therefore, I appropriate well-known images and concepts that exist in society and compose them with my surroundings onto a canvas. This is a reflective act and a way for me to see myself, as if looking in a mirror.
Martha Zmpounou’s recent work revolves around the idea of the portrait as a means and space
of exposure. It seeks to subvert the apparent glorification in portraiture and invoke the fragmentary and the discursive. Collage, masking and layering are deployed to create figures whose identities emerge out of a play of hiding and revealing. In some works, this play comes through with the cryptic expression of the portrayed figure, in some others, with the use of photo-collage, layering and masking. These masked, fragmented portraits touch upon the misinterpretation of the human figure in media and evoke the undermining of the idolized personas that are portrayed.
The work of James is driven by process. He fabricates a situation, which invariably removes his
hand from the final act of making. Capturing the unexpected gesture, a consequence of mediated randomness. This sentiment is particularly relevant when he casts the burrows created by rats. The rodent is unmistakably present, a consequence of its teeth marks being faithfully recorded, thus presenting an insight into the furious excavation. The act of casting the structure creates a fossil of behavior. The object becomes animated by the viewer’s ability to re-insert the animal.
These objects stimulated an engagement with the use of teeth as a means to make sculptural marks. James fabricated a series of tools incorporating his teeth making reference to our departure from the animal binding the relationship between the use of tools by early man and the subsequent dental developments associated with this particular act of advancement. By displaying the tools without handles they remain more elusive, they occupy a space between skeletal remain and archaeological artefact.
Nathaniel is a Northampton based artist. In 2014 he graduated with a BA (hons) Fine Art degree
from Birmingham City University. He has predominantly been using watercolours for the past six years.
See the 2017 Shortlisted Artworks here...
Oaktree & Tiger Team
Art experts giving advice to emerging artists to build their careers and find success. Organisers of the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2020, artist agent and art consultants.