On 25 February, the winners of The John Ruskin Prize 2015 will be revealed at a public awards ceremony hosted by The Big Draw at The New Art Gallery Walsall.
The New Art Gallery Walsall is the first West Midlands venue to host the prestigious John Ruskin Prize exhibition, which will be accompanied by a programme linking to the historic ‘Recording Britain’ collection at Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Now in its third year, this open exhibition invited artists, both emerging and established from across the UK, to respond to the theme, Recording Britain Now: Society. From hundreds of entrants, thirty artists have been selected for the shortlist exhibitions, taking place at The New Art Gallery Walsall, 26 February – 17 April 2016 and The Electrician’s Shop Gallery, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, 6 – 22nd May 2016.
The shortlisted artists are: Dominic Negus, Hilary Powell, Julian Bovis, Nathan Ford, Michelle Heron, Michael Johnson, Nettie Wakefield, Sally Cutler, Susie Hamilton, Stephanie Grainger, Joe Munro, Teresa Robertson, Julia Midgley, Graham Martin, David Borrington, Duncan Wood, Jessie Brennan, Peter Haugh, Timothy Betjeman, Tanya Wood, Anne Guest, Oliver Jones, Myles Linley, Cherry Pickles, Georgia Wisbey, Emily Vanns, Emma Wilde, Laura Oldfield Ford, Robin Sukatorn, Tony Kenyon.
W.A.S.148 Patients on Board, Ink and watercolour. Julia Midgley, 2014
About the shortlist
The shortlisted works responded to the theme Recording Britain Now: Society, and reveal an abundant range of techniques and social commentary, often focusing on physical or emotional isolation, with some suggestions of hope. Julia Midgley’s reportage drawings of military hospitals remind us of the impact of the Syrian air strikes vote in sharp contrast to Susie Hamilton’s observations from the sidelines, which provide morphed interpretations of everyday supermarket scenes.
South Aisle, Oil on board. Susie Hamilton, 2015
Portraiture is featured more heavily than in previous years. Oliver Jones presents a photorealist pastel commentary on cosmetic plastic surgery titled ‘3 steps to looking younger looking skin’, while Sally Cutler’s series of linocut portraits celebrates the diversity of British society. Topical depictions of the Skipchen Food Ambulance and a Jeremy Corbyn rally in Manchester are also part of the selection.
3 Steps to Younger Looking Skin Pt 3., Pastel on paper. Oliver Jones, 2013
About The John Ruskin Prize
With support from The Pilgrim Trust and The Guild of St. George, The John Ruskin Prize award totals £8,000, with the winner receiving £5,000, the runner-up £2,000, and a new £1,000 student prize. The Prize was established in 2012 to support emerging British artists. It aims to uphold Ruskin’s belief that drawing helps us see the world and its fragility more clearly. In the same way that 75 years ago Recording Britain sought to map familiar townscapes and countryside under threat from World War 2 and over-development, the Prize is an invitation to engage with a society in rapid transition.
The Selection Panel
The members of The John Ruskin Prize 2015 jury are Adam Dant (Artist), Gill Saunders (Senior Curator of Prints, Victoria & Albert Museum), Stephen Snoddy (Director, The New Art Gallery Walsall), and Sue Grayson Ford (President & Founder, The Big Draw).
Commenting on the Prize, Sue Grayson Ford (President & Founder, The Big Draw) said:
"The artists selected for the exhibition present diverse perspectives on this year’s theme, with sensitive and sometimes unconventional insights into life in Britain today – from the evidence of poverty and homelessness on our streets to sites of urban regeneration cheek by jowl with dereliction and decay. But the sombre views are complemented by scenes which capture the energy, colour and conviviality that also characterise contemporary British society."
Read more about The John Ruskin Prize here.