This year, Narbi Price won the second ever Contemporary British Painting Prize. His ‘Untitled Yard Painting (Albert)’ depicted a temporarily boarded up construction site by a road, yet the seemingly mundane subject creates a pleasing composition that works just as any well composed painting does – with a good sense of balance and considered palette. We wanted to ask Narbi Price how the rest of his 2017 went.
Lisa: Congratulations for winning the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017! What does winning the prize mean to you and how has it affected your practice, if at all?
Narbi: Thanks! It was a great surprise and I was flattered to even be part of the shortlist. The exhibition was a great testament to the quality and diversity of painting practice in the UK happening right now. It feels like a bit of a responsibility; I can’t drop the ball in 2018!
Lisa: How would you describe how 2017 has been in your artistic practice – what breakthroughs and set backs did you experience?
Narbi: It’s been a very busy year; I’ve been working toward a PhD at Newcastle University, whilst producing a large body of work for solo exhibitions in 2018, teaching and I had a solo exhibition in Newcastle. To be quite honest, I haven’t really had time to unpack the year in my head yet!
Lisa: Did you visit exhibitions this year? If so which were your favourite and why?
Narbi: I very much enjoyed ‘America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s’ at the Royal Academy. It provided a really interesting alternative narrative of a period in Art History that we associate usually with the European avant garde. It was wonderful to see ‘American Gothic’ by Grant Wood in the flesh and to discover the work of Charles Sheeler.
Lisa: Do you have a plan of what you might hope to achieve creatively in 2018?
Narbi: I hope to continue to develop a distinctive way of making representational painting that has the same complexity and richness that abstract work does, in terms of how the paint functions, how it’s applied, what it does.
Lisa: What art material have you loved above all others this year?
Narbi: It’s not the most exciting thing in the world but I’ve used a lot of Golden’s GAC100 acrylic medium for sizing, glazing and isolating, it’s become my right-hand man. I’m a fan of Daler Rowney Bristlewhite, Da Vinci Maestro and W&N Sceptre Gold brushes. I’m looking forward to giving Jackson’s new acrylic paint a try actually!
Lisa: What has been the most important creative lesson you have learned in 2017?
Narbi: There were many small breakthroughs and changes that happened in the studio this year. I’ve been braver than perhaps I have been in the past, in terms of gesture, application and finish in the work that I’ve made. Sometimes it’s been more successful than others but it’s vital to push the envelope and to keep asking ‘I wonder what will happen if…’
Lisa: What work were you most proud of this year and why?
Narbi: This year saw my second solo exhibition with Vane Gallery in Newcastle, ‘This Must Be the Place’ which took place from May to July. It was my first solo exhibition that didn’t involve a particular project or series of work, it was more of an introduction to the practice and it was great to see work from the last four or five years together. Being featured in Phaidon’s ‘Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting’ was amazing, those books are fantastic, to actually be in one is very surreal.
Lisa: Do you have any exhibition plans in the pipeline for 2018?
Narbi: I have a major solo exhibition opening at Woodhorn Colliery Museum in Ashington, Northumberland at the end of May, this show is the culmination of my PhD at Newcastle University and will feature around 30 new paintings. Later in the year I’ll have another solo exhibition at the Herrick Gallery in London.
Lisa: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
Narbi: Finished work can be seen at www.narbiprice.co.uk, work in progress and day to day shots can be seen at www.facebook.com/narbipriceart or @narbiprice on Instagram. If you’re in the North East you can view works by appointment at Vane in Newcastle upon Tyne by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Header Image: ‘Untitled Yard Painting (Albert)’ by Narbi Price, Acrylic on Canvas, 91cm x 122cm