To ensure every genre of art is appreciated equally in our Jackson’s Open Painting Prize, we are awarding 6 Category Prizes to our 350 Longlisted works! Upon entering, artists had to tag their work the most appropriate subject matter, choosing between Portrait/Figure, Animals, Still life/Botanical, Abstract/Non-representational, Landscape/Cityscape/Seascape and Scenes of Everyday Life. Jackson’s Judging Panel will choose one winner from each category so that all Longlisted works can be judged against works with a similar subject matter, alongside being considered for the other prizes. All 6 category prize winners will win £500 and will automatically be placed in the Shortlist.
Abstract/Non-representational Award Winner: ‘Untitled’ by Odilia Suanzes
‘I imbue my personal narratives, feelings and experiences in to the lines and forms of my work. Avoiding imagery which falls in to universal semiotics in an attempt to illustrate how I feel, rather than what I see. The material process of making is an integral to my practice, it is enigmatic and unpredictable, I make a connection between the emotions and the intellect. I experiment with a variety of materials which break the boundaries of drawing and painting, mixing watercolours, ink, pencil, charcoal, oil and I make my own pigments from found natural materials rocks, leaves, and blood on sealed canvas and paper. I tend to emulsify these materials layering them in veils of semi-transparent washes, making characteristic fragile organic shapes, creating depth and volume in the abstract images.’
Debbie Chessell: Your materials look a very unusual texture and have untraditional contents – do you make your own paints? If so, please may you tell about this process?
Odilia Suanzes: I always try to make my paint from scratch. I try to find and gather materials when I travel and visit places. I collect plants, fruits, soils, blood, rocks, oxides from metals, and things that catch my attention. Every material has a different process to obtain its pigment. Normally I have to make a powder or a paste that I will then mix with a water based or oil based medium. Once I have got the right thickness of the paint, which normally is quite liquid I apply it to the sealed canvas. I play a little bit with the traditional “rules” of painting mixing oil and water giving me the possibility to get strange, enigmatic and unpredictable shapes.
How long does one work take you to make? How do you make the marks on the canvas?
Each piece is unique in the time it takes me to complete it. I normally work on a very large scale so that makes the process be a bit slower and take longer time. I am in a continuous fight with the work, trying to reach different parts of the canvas, as they are bigger than me. The process of putting the paint on the canvas is very delicate and I have to be very careful. The process becomes longer when I layer the paint over and over again. The materials I use are normally very liquid so it takes few hours to dry to be able to go over it again. I do this process to create depth in the image and make the viewer feel that can get in the painting or go around the shapes of the paint.
I see you’ve participated in many international residencies – how have these experiences influenced your practice? Do you have any upcoming projects? Where can we see more of your work?
I feel that each residency I have done helps my work evolve. Somehow I feel that each place I visit influence my ideas, inspiration and the way I feel my work. The colours and shapes change as well as the sizes of my canvas. I feel that the immersion in an unfamiliar place really influence the way I do things.
I have been doing this residencies not just for the fact that I struggled to find a decent place to work here in London, but also because I really enjoy learning from other cultures and people, I find its a way to get inspired and to find new materials to work from. I feel that people and natural environments that I am not so used to seeing help me find new interests, influences and inspiration.
I have an upcoming solo exhibition in May at the Brocket Gallery in Kennington where I will be exhibiting a selection of works I did in my last residency in Lisbon. The rest of my paintings I have to keep in my room at the moment.