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Monday 17 May 2010

The Artists of 2010 - The Next Big Thing?

Again, it is this time of year, where everyone is boasting about the next “big thing”, I do follow graduates, and encourage their work, but sometimes I feel that artists need to realise that there’s no quick fix. Everyone has to pay their dues, it takes time, dedication and hard work to succeed in this industry. That said, this is one of the most exciting times of year, I feel that graduates do need our support - Enter the Catlin Art Prize.

The only art prize to survey every art school in the UK, the Catlin Art Prize commissions new work from the best of Britain’s emerging artists. Now in its fourth year, the Catlin Art Prize has established itself as the annual showcase for graduates one year on from their degree exhibitions. The prize is recognised amongst collectors and artists alike as being one of the most exciting for British early-career artists. It is unique in the breadth of its scope and in providing the artists with the time and opportunity to develop their practice, encouraging them to demonstrate their progress by producing a new body of work. Last Thursday, video artist Reynir Hutber, was awarded the Catlin Art Prize 2010.

Curator, gallerist and art writer, Justin Hammond’s search for the most promising artists of tomorrow takes him the length and breadth of the UK, to graduate BA and MA shows. For the first time the 40 exceptional talents uncovered through this wide ranging process have been documented in The Catlin Guide. The only guide to emerging art in the UK, this highly sought after limited edition book introduces the work and upcoming exhibitions of Catlin artists and will be available exclusively at The London Art Fair, 13-17 January 2011.

From the 40 artists recommended for The Catlin Guide, eight were invited to take part in the Catlin Art Prize and encouraged to make a brand new collection of work to be exhibited at Village Underground, Shoreditch, which opened on 14th May. Previous exhibitions have attracted collectors such as David Roberts and Kay Saatchi eager to view cutting edge work and invest in new talent. A final overall winner will be selected by a judging panel and will receive £3,000 prize money – enough to run a studio for a year.

Curator Justin Hammond said: “These artists were selected for their potential to influence the shape and dynamic of contemporary art at a most crucial and exciting time. In 2010 the art landscape is different, less bloated. It feels like a fresh start and an environment more receptive to new ideas. This meant it was harder than usual to distinguish common trends at the last round of degree shows - undeniably a good thing. A determined reaction against complacency was palpable though, with some serious, less jokey art and adept manipulation of technology.”

2009 winner Sarah Lederman is positive about the award's significance, “The Catlin Art Prize gave me and the other artists the opportunity to show what we had achieved since graduation. It has certainly given me critical and financial encouragement to keep making art - the prize money will allow me to afford my studio and continue to be a full time practicing artist.”

In their own words, what some of the 8 shortlisted artists had to say:

Alexander Allan
“My recent work utilises a range of man-made and natural materials to display the constant battle being fought between our built environment and the forces of nature. The force and flow of water has been represented using sticks and debris gathered from rivers while our attempts to control the forces of nature have been displayed using abandoned bricks gathered from the same river. It is nature’s ability to overcome our attempts to constrain its forces that has strongly influenced my work recently and will continue to do so in the future.” BA (hons) Sculpture Edinburgh College of Art. Currently studying MFA Sculpture Edinburgh College of Art

Adam Dix
“Recent paintings have investigated the association between communication technology and our desire to communicate, whilst considering the systems we have constructed to do so. I have concentrated on the arena of telecommunications, looking at its impact on society.In the coming year I would like to further the idea of 'ritual' within the human response to communication, considering the systems we have constructed beyond that of telecommunications.” MA Painting Wimbledon College of Art University of the Arts London

Alex Virji
“Portraiture and the recognisable silhouette of a head and bust is a motif I have kept constant throughout my work. The shape is reminiscent of a keyhole and when placed within an oval format, allows the viewer to be connected to a mode of painting rooted in the past.” BA (Hons) Painting City and Guilds of London Art School

Reynir Hutber
“My work encompasses aspects of installation, live art and sculpture and explores themes of social visibility, responsibility and control. Many of my recent projects blend looped recordings of my body with relayed video of the viewer, compressing them into a mediated image that is both cohesive and deceitful.” MA Fine Art The University Of Brighton

Victoria Matkin
“I create otherworldly sculptures concerned with themes of veiling and concealment. When standing along side the sculptures, it is difficult for the viewer not to address their own standing within the immediate space. My aim is to produce sculptures that challenge the space in which they are situated, perhaps triggering a sense of unease and disconcertion in the viewer.” BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture Bath Spa University

Sonny Sanjay Vadgama
“Through my work in video, photography and sculpture, I hope to address a range of political and cultural narratives. I take existing material and manipulate it digitally to create both 2D and 3D virtual environments. I frequently display work via large scale projections that fill the field of vision, further engaging the audience and creating an immersive atmosphere.” BA Fine Art Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design London

David A Smith
“I am interested in the physical manifestation of memory within the sculpted form, though my practice does not necessarily signify a complete analysis of an object’s history or an opportunity to resurrect a past method of its purpose. I present a new dialogue in the relationship between the ready made and the manipulated raw materials.” MA Fine Art Chelsea College of Art and Design University of the Arts London

Miyo Yoshida
“My work is about conditioned perception. I reconstruct objects and symbols of personal status with alternative materials, forging a new identity and value, triggering doubt and confusing judgement. Since childhood I have experience different cultures, social mechanisms, contrary opinions and paradoxical points of view and I've learned not to believe in the absolute value of events or materials. I support a constant flux in which each of us contributes to the mutability of every parameter.” MA Applied Arts Royal College of Art London

Visit www.artcatlin.com for more information. The exhibition is at Village Underground, Shoreditch and continues until 23 May 2010.

Reynir Hutber will be participating at the next show at ROOM LONDON from 5 June to 18 July.


© David A Smith, courtesy Justin Green 19
© Reynir Hutber, courtesy Justin Green 19
© Alex Virji, courtesy Justin Green 19

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