“My paintings are about the experiences of women – most of my paintings are of women in a scene. It’s the hidden thoughts and the psychology of the situation that interest me most. I use pattern and light to transform ordinary, tangible objects into pliable masses and ugly squiggles. I am excited by light and colour, which paint serves best, and love how the playfulness of this can, paradoxically, add a sort of melancholy to the thing it’s depicting.
My iconography is developed from everyday stories, places and faces, but also makes use of elements from older visual languages and across the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Sometimes I’ll confront the viewer with enigmatic behaviours (there’s always something private and inaccessible about the subjects); and at other times I’ll use rituals, symbols and tokens to disrupt the reading of the image. It’s not a radical effect: more a gentle skewing. Sometimes it’s the slightest gesture that feels most significant.
Geraniums is set in the greenhouse of my neighbours garden, that I grew up next door to. Those are the trees of my childhood memories. I often return home to stage my scenes, that is my place of play.”
Emerging Artist Prize
“With this piece I was looking at ways to escape the really familiar landscape composition, and up close at how plants were somehow thriving a marina bank. Next I created pencil studies to decide on the colours and composition. I rarely use the true colours, as it feels too familiar again. Instead I use new colour combinations, with similar tonal values. I decided on a warm red base, and then using colour triangle theory choose the other key colour ways; blue-violet and green-blue. The study also helps create an exaggerated reality, which is more interesting in the final piece. The painting process is very time consuming, 90% done using a small brush. Rather than working into wet paint, I build up layers of clean colour, leaving glimpse of what went down before. I also describe the nature and volume of a plant or material, using patterns and by doing the negative space around it last. This means cutting in afterwards; like if you were to create a drawing by doing the white of the paper last. In turn the magic of this environment and the seemingly mundane plants, are celebrated by the attention to detail and the process.”
Category Prize Winner
“My paintings are representations of sublime encounters with places; pristine and untouched. I draw from archival photographs and personal documents relating to the early exploration and colonisation of New Zealand aiming to reimagine and examine the experience of forays into a hitherto unknown space. I’m interested in the idea of wilderness and the unknown as a terrain of the mind and as a place that induces reflexivity.”
Category Prize Winner
“This work responds to three works from the Dutch Golden Age still life genre, to reconsider for a contemporary context, ideas concerning the accumulation and celebration of wealth.”
Abstract/non-representational category prize winner
“The painted landscape is severed from the original geographical setting and in this process of destruction and neutralization of the initial site, something different is formed. One can find a reference to the landscape – the horizon line, the sky and the earth – but the painting cannot be grasped and it remains open to interpretation. The painting stretches from right to left, up and down, inside and out, without any coherence, going through a universal experience of eternal existence, endlessness, life and death, tranquility and compassion – all of which rely on the reference to the city Kigali, Rwanda and the pain she carries.”
Animal category prize winner
“Painted from a screen-capture of a YouTube video, uploaded under a matching title. A famous family of dogs, vlogged in various scenarios by YouTuber ‘Jenna Marbles’.
This video sees her taking her dogs to a pet shop, picking out whichever toys or treats they touch, sniff, or paw at, and allowing them to take them all home. The moment in time selected for my painting is the pack’s car ride home. A tribute to these ephemeral online dog-idols, an act of deification through paint.”
category prize winner
“My work elevates the prosaic in the everyday life of lost individuals, committing the fleeting moments of the people we look through and discard to the form of intimate oils. The act of retrieving and reviving is at the core of my practice, from the collecting of found photographs as source material to the process of painting itself.
I create detailed studies in oil, and through a process of working back in to the surface and exploring mark making techniques, I distort, eliminate and manipulate the image to create a visual language. This process is based on my personal relationship with the individuals I am portraying, as well as the desire to create a painting with which the viewer can establish a point of communication. I do not look to dictate a specific meaning through the narrative presented but rather to prompt dialogue between the subject and the viewer.”
Scenes of Everyday Life
category prize winner
“Judith Tucker has worked since 2013 on and with a contested coastal community on one of the U.K.’s last existing plotlands, the Humberston Fitties in Lincolnshire. Here, since between the wars, local people and visitors have erected their diverse dwellings, in order to enjoy the simple, restorative pleasures of seaside life. These paintings are from the series Night Fitties. They explore the play of light and dark and the uncanny transformations of the chalets that take place after hours as well as notions of vulnerability, occupation and emptiness. The work considers, in the shadow of recent dramatic political changes, how notions of place and identity are constructed on domestic and larger scales, as reflected by the play on flags and other indications of Englishness.”
People’s Choice Award
“I wanted to capture the character of my dog. He is a proud dog but has a gentle soul shown in his eyes. I wanted to show the different colours of his fur in different lights.”