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Friday 1 October 2010

Winner Announced for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010

I am a big fan of Jerwood – covering visual arts, dance, theatre, literature and music, they see the arts the same way that I do, and celebrate creativity in all its guises. So I was delighted to learn that Virginia Verran was named the winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010 for her piece Bolus-Space (signal). Her work, along with that of the 70 short-listed artists will be shown at Jerwood Space in London until 7 November 2010, and will then tour to Cheltenham, Berkshire, Carmarthen and Durham.

Verran is based in North London, she studied at Chelsea College of Art, London (1983-84) and Winchester School of Art (1980-83). She has exhibited in a number of solo and group shows, including the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009, and teaches at Slade School of Art.

Virginia’s description of her winning work is clear and concise:
"Intuitions ・ layers ・ planes ・ demarcations ・ nations ・ symbols ・ threats ・ bombardments ・pointings ・ ponds ・ settlements ・ migrations ・ repetitions"

Just under 3,000 entries were submitted this year for consideration by the distinguished panel of selectors: Charles Darwent, Art Critic, Independent on Sunday; Jenni Lomax, Director of the Camden Arts Centre; and Emma Talbot, artist. The shortlist includes established artists as well as relative newcomers and students fresh from art school.

A Second Prize of £3,000 was awarded to Cadi Froehlich who is currently studying for a Fine Art Foundation Degree at Brighton University City College. Cadi’s work, Untitled (tea table), comprises of a side table with marks left by hot drinks, she explains:

Untitled (tea table) has evolved from a process of work looking at what was, what isn’t and what could be. Mindful of the passing of time and the potential of the future, this period of work has questioned the reality of the now. Evoking moments spent, lost or yearned for, the table bears the marks that illustrate meetings, conversations and quiet contemplations spent over a cup of tea. The format of the drinking and the style of cup changes, as does the purpose, aim or hope in the moment of the drinking.”

Two Student Awards of £1,000 each, were awarded to Warren Andrews for David M. Hutchinson Drawing device no 436 and to James Eden & Olly Rooks for their collaboration, Burst. Warren is currently studying at Wimbledon College of Art, his work "deals with how an audience approaches and views ‘art’, and the role perspective". Both James and Olly recently graduated in Fine Art from the University of Plymouth and have been working collaboratively for two years.

Catch the exhibition at the Jerwood Space until 7 November. Admission Free. Jerwood Visual Arts will host a series of Monday evening events to accompany the exhibition starting at 6pm on 4th, 11th, 18th October 2010. Events are free but must be booked in advance. Jerwood Space is participating in the 2010 Big Draw and will host events on 22nd and 23rd October.


Bolus-Space (signal), Pens on canvas, 76 x 62 cm, by Virginia Verran, 2010 Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibitor

Wednesday 29 September 2010

DIY: Make Do & Mend

By Bethany Rex

History tells us that fashion trends often act as harbingers of economic change and fashion’s recent sombre mood is no exception. The economy has gone from boom to bust, the political landscape has changed from red to blue, but designers have gone back to black. At Yves Saint Laurent, designer Stefano Pilati dressed his models in black bowl-cut wigs and matt black lipstick, giving the collection a graphic and austere edge and at CĂ©line, creative director Phoebe Philo’s simple, crisp, structured silhouettes have become the look of the moment. In its own way, the major fashion houses have responded to what the designers Ruben and Isabel Toledo call “the fashion plunge” by moving away from the frivolity that had come to define them. Shifting the focus away from impractical, gregarious pieces to a concentration on investment pieces, they have begun to open their doors to a much more authentic aesthetic.

It is not only high-end fashion that has responded so vehemently to the debate surrounding the consumer’s newfound desire for authenticity and it is not a new idea that in times of recession we tend to go “back to basics”. During the 1930s depression in America women relined their winter coats with old blankets, all over Europe in the 1940s women would unpick their upholstery to make dresses and blouses, and in the 21st century Selina Francis-Bryden has come up with her own take on “Make Do and Mend”. In recent years, craft has become about more than crochet and Francis-Bryden’s latest book, DIY Fashion (Laurence King), captures the spirit of the moment in its departure from the inward looking ‘producer vs. consumer’ model and instead of turning her back on the distasteful reality of mass production-subverts it for her own purpose. Selina has come a long way from learning the trade first-hand working the stalls of Portobello Market with her Dad and as well as having her work featured in Sex in the City has produced complete clothing ranges for Topshop and Miss Selfridge. From customised hand-me-downs to elegant evening wear, the book contains more than 40 thrifty, sustainable and stylish projects for us all to try.

The current state of affairs has meant that, as consumers, we have become disillusioned with homogenous branded products and instead are searching for something more sustainable, something with a story. So what does this change in expectations indicate; a saturated population’s attempt to redefine their consumption for the ‘post-consumerist’ era or just a shift in the parameters?

In our October/November issue we look at the impact the economic mood is having on all aspects of the creative process. Ruby Beesley’s piece, Challenging the Bastion of Haute Couture, discusses the current exhibition at Design Museum Holon, Mechanical Couture, which explores the phenomenon of mechanical luxury- where designers are reinterpreting couture as a hybrid of both mechanized process and customized craftsmanship.

In the UK, a new exhibition at The Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University, Hand Made Tales: Women and Domestic Crafts (28 October-20 April 2011) looks the other end of the spectrum; focusing on the schism between considerations of domestic craft as the specific trade of the housewife alongside the contemporary view that has glamourised how we view craft and the concept of "making". A centrepiece of the exhibition is ‘The Art of Domestic Craft’ section, comprising a large showcase, brimming with exquisitely hand sewn work. A beautiful, technicolour skirt constructed from remnants of silk ties can be found next to an elegant evening dress. Each piece attests to the quality of some objects made in the home, and to the imagination of their creators, challenging the idea that domestic crafts are of little aesthetic value.

At Aesthetica, we applaud this new sense of resolve and something tells us that it is here to stay. The origin of the products that we consume has become a central ethical concern and there has been a definite resurgence in the DIY ethic at the moment. In our October/November issue we look at the impact the economic mood is having on the film industry; where independent filmmakers are finally competing with the majors. Elliot Grove, founder of the UK’s largest independent film festival, Raindance, (29 September-10 October), explores the possibilities of Zero Budget Filmmaking by letting us in on a secret or two; how to make your own film for nothing. For those of you in need of some more inspiration this year’s line, announced today, included 77 features including 69 UK Premieres and over 133 shorts with another exception year of internationally acclaimed and alternative films, special live events, exclusive Q&As and masterclasses. See www.raindance.co.uk for full programme.


Image credit:
Girl Embroider Pamphlet from the Needlework Development Scheme. Photo Credits: Needlework Development Scheme. Copyright: Glasgow School of Art

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Winner & Finalists Announced for the Aesthetica Short Film Competition 2010

Today after much heartfelt deliberation the winner, runner-up and finalists for the Aesthetica Short Film Competition 2010 are announced.

The competition is an exciting initiative, which supports short filmmakers and brings their work to a wider audience. We were (and are) looking for filmmakers who are driving the genre forward. Just like our editorial in the magazine, we are looking for filmmakers and artists who are engaging with cinema in new and exciting ways.

For me a good short is concise, capturing the moment within the first few opening frames. As a viewer, the sensation tearing up inside of me is a desperate urge to know what’s going to happen next. Creating that feeling, makes for good cinema.

With just under 1000 films submitted from over 34 countries, the shortlist consists of 13 filmmakers from 7 countries including the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Canada, United States and Australia. Films were submitted from the following genres: drama, documentary, music video, satire, comedy and artists' film.

There were so many excellent films submitted. I know that everyone always says that, but it’s true. The work was outstanding and it was a privilege to be able to watch so much innovative cinema. There were at least 100 films that I wanted to include on this DVD, but alas there are only 2 hours to a DVD. To be honest with you, choosing the final 13 was beyond tough and it became a rather tense moment in my life. I was living, eating and breathing short films. But I loved every minute of it, and I am genuinely looking forward to the re-opening of the competition.

I shouldn’t say anything, particularly on this blog, but after receiving such high calibre work, I’d like to put on the International Aesthetica Short Film Festival. There I’ve said it, but at this point, all I can say is watch this space.

This year’s prize sees the winner and finalists’ films screened at a number of festivals across the UK and Ireland, as well as included on a DVD, which will be distributed to Aesthetica’s readers internationally in December 2010. We’ll keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter.

We are looking who are driving the genre of short film forward through inspirational and innovative works, so if this is you, please get in touch for 2011’s competition.

This year’s Winner & Finalists

Carol SalterUnearthing the Pen
Jared VaravaThe Shadow Effect
Shaun HughesMother
Tatiana Margaux Bonhomme-Un Certain Dimanche (That Sunday)
Eduardo Moises Escribano Solera (producer) -Quiero estar el resto de mi vida contigo (I Want to Spend the Rest of my Life with You)
Matt Hammill / Guru Studio –HAZED
Remi WeekesExhale
Timothy MelvilleThe Laundromat
Tom CanningFoto
Guy DuckerMissed
Tom Werber –Losers: Flush
Oonagh KearneyHer Mother’s Daughters
Daniel WirtbergLove Child

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