The Signature Art Prize 2019
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2013/14

Drawing and Printmaking Winner Claire Anscomb and her piece 'Nostalgia'

For the seventh year in a row, DegreeArt.com welcomed artists and art lovers alike to enjoy the works of 40 hand picked artists for the Signature Art Prize Gala event. Held in Old Spitalfields Market, the pop up exhibition featured works from the disciplines of painting, photography, sculpture, and drawing and printmaking.

With six judges in place to pick the final four winners of this years prize, they had previously waded through over 300 applications, and then came to witness the works in the flesh at the pop-up exhibition. The judges included artist Carol Robertson, photographer and creator of cult gay magazine ‘Meat’ – Adrian Lourie,  previous Signature Art Prize Winner of the Mixed Media category – Matthew Spencer,  artist and lecturer Graham Crowley, Other Art Fair Director – Ryan Stanier and installation artist – Terry Smith.

The four winners of this year's Signature Art Prize are Gwenyth Fugard from the painting category, Kevin Dowd for photography, Alice Kelway-Bamber for sculpture and Claire Anscomb for drawing and printmaking.

THE WINNERS

GWENYTH FUGARD | PAINTING WINNER

Gwenyth Fugard says of her winning painting 'Untitled 6', " My recent work is created with a system of criteria and boundaries to be observed while navigating the neutrality of the square format. This plane provides a means to depict  my concerns about mass, accumulation and dispersion. Borders and boundaries appear to be corroding while other zones remain solid. I structure folds into the prepared linen and create a series of interventions and obstructions during the coverage of oil paint, leaving trace and separation evident. An illusionary space emerges suggesting an existing condition or dynamic. It is the process of constructing the composition within the constraints of the imposed system that is of importance during the making. Despite the restrictions evident, I attempt to create the illusion of openness and the notion of multiple options yet to be configured."

 

ALICE KELWAY-BAMBER | SCULPTURE WINNER

Alice Kelway-Bamber took home the sculpture prize with her impressive and dominating piece 'Untitled', speaking of her large scale work, Kelway-Bamber states, "I try to simultaneously highlight and blur the boundary between drawing and sculpture: my work is always resting somewhere in between. The piece that won the Signature art prize started life as a drawing on MDF, which was then hand-cut and turned into a sculpture that still is, essentially, a drawing. The work is meant to contrast spontaneous gestural mark-making with painstaking mechanical process by interrupting the drawing with a grid (or interrupting a grid with a drawing). I also see the work as a screen between the artist and viewer that both facilitates and prevents communication; the patterns I use are derived from those found in jali screens in Indian palaces, through which royal women caught their only glimpses of the outside world, as well as spectacles and concerts outside the palace. I feel like the artwork is a screen through which artist and viewer catch glimpses of one another, but never fully see or speak to each other."

 

KEVIN DOWD | PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM WINNER

Photography winner Kevin Dowd speaks of his work 'Field Day: Descent', "For several years I have trained in graphic communication and visual design, and through this I have gained a finer understanding of image,  type, colour and space. Breaking away from the restrictions of commercial design, my artwork explores themes that I engage with as a practitioner  and as an individual. The aesthetic of my first collection establishes my own predilections, and while I am drawn to particular mediums and styles, I also try to distance myself from what I’m comfortable working with. I’m currently working with glass, which is an unfamiliar material for me, and so  I am excited by the possibilities of merging new ideas, media, styles and themes to generate something original and stimulating. The current collection, Technostalgia, explores several threads, such as the human experience, technological development, the hubris of man and the limitations of our world; the collection weaves these threads together to create a tapestry of arresting pieces and define a narrative. Beyond this collection, I examine themes of consciousness, humour, loss, difference, inversion and creation."

 

CLAIRE ANSCOMB | DRAWING & PRINTMAKING WINNER

Winner of the drawing and printmaking category Claire Anscomb, explains her practice seen in her winning drawing, 'Nostalgia' "My practice is a derivative process, it all starts with photographs, this could be found photographs or ones I have purposefully chosen to take, rarely do I start with an image in mind, rather I experiment and juxtapose photographs and occasionally objects to create collages which I then photograph to use as the basis to translate this new image into a drawing. I always consider the viewer when making my work; I keep the viewer in mind as a basis for questioning the accessibility of the themes and ideas I am trying to communicate through my work."

THE JUDGES

CAROL ROBERTSON | ARTIST

Painter and printmaker Carol Robertson, is a former first place recipient of the prestigious Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Previously a Research Fellow in Painting at Cardiff School of Art & Design, Carol is now widely exhibited in an extensive list of international locations.

ADRIAN LOURIE | PHOTOGRAPHER & CREATOR OF CULT GAY MAGAZINE 'MEAT'

London based Adrian Lourie is an award-winning portrait, interior, lifestyle and event photographer. His work has been seen in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The Express and The London Evening Standard. In addition to his considerable photography credentials, Adrian is also the creator and editor-in-chief of 'MEAT' - a quarterly male pinup magazine that is published in print and sold online.

MATTHEW SPENCER | PREVIOUS SIGNATURE ART PRIZE WINNER IN THE MIXED MEDIA CATEGORY 

Matthew Spencer graduated summa cum laude from the College for Creative Studies in May of 2014 with a BFA in Illustration.

He has vested interest in how our world is represented to us through simulated images in the media and how these in turn form our comprehension of the world around us, basing his pieces on images from the media and internet. His works are cynical of utopian notions surrounding our relationship with the natural world, effectively combining medium, process and aesthetics as message.

 

GRAHAM CROWLEY | ARTIST AND LECTURER 

Graduate of St. Martin’s School of Art London and subsequently the Royal College of Art London, Graham Crowley is often regarded as one of the most distinguished living painters in the UK. He has held a number of significant teaching posts, most recently Professor of Painting at the RCA. He has shown in seven previous John Moores exhibitions and won joint second prize in 1987. He is represented in several public collections and has exhibited in numerous group shows, winning the ING Purchase Prize at The Discerning Eye Mall Galleries London 2004. His most recent solo show was at Beaux Arts London 2005.

RYAN STANIER | OTHER ART FAIR DIRECTOR 

In 2011 Ryan Stanier launched the Other Art Fair. Eliminating the middleman (galleries), Ryan created a space for artists to come and show their talent. Tremendously popular from the very beginning, the fair attracts more than 40,000 visitors and exhibits over 100 artists. In 2011 Ryan launched the Other Art Fair with the intent to create a space for artists to come and show their talent. Tremendously popular from the very beginning, the fair attracts more than 40,000 visitors and exhibits over 100 artists.

 

TERRY SMITH  | INSTALLATION ARTIST

Known for his cut outs into the plaster of walls in mainly derelict buildings and spaces, Goldsmith’s graduate Terry Smith was a recipient of the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award in 2008. Smith notably held the keys to the Tate Turbine hall, during the refurbishment in 1996 having been given permission to create his work in the walls and spaces of the building that was to become Tate Modern.