The Directors of Artellite have announced the four winners of this year’s Signature Art Prize, the UK's only art prize dedicated to student and emerging artists. Held at Bankside Hotel on Thursday 31st January 2019, the Gala night showcased the finalists, selected by an expert panels of judges, in the mediums of Painting, Sculpture, Photography & Film and Drawing & Printmaking from over 500 submissions from artists from around the world. Two further winners were announced on the night; following the public ballot, Gala guests selected the People's Choice Winner. Co-Founders Elinor Olisa and Isobel Beauchamp announced their Directors' Pick. All the winners can be seen below.
The winners of the Signature Art Prize 2018/2019 reveal outstanding standard and quality across all categories. Today’s announcement signals an impressive year ahead for the world of young, emerging artists - Elinor Olisa, Co-Founder
Dorian Radu – Kingston University - ‘Captive in A Yellow House’
Dorian Radu is a multiple award-winning artist, focusing on realistic and hyper-realistic portrait painting. With over 14 years of experience, he has been commissioned to paint pieces destined to prestigious private collectors such as the Romanian Royal Family, the BBC TV Series “Cradle to Grave”, as well as numerous other prestigious collectors. In 2017, Dorian was selected to exhibit in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, winning the L. Cornelissen Prize as well. In 2018, his work has been selected for the Royal Scottish Academy OPEN, where both of his submitted pieces were successful. Overall, Dorian’s work is now present in more than 80 private collections worldwide.
Dorian Radu'’s art is at a junction between traditional and contemporary principles, in the sense that the main aim is to bring back the aesthetics and criteria of traditional portrait painting and also identify the role of portraiture in contemporary art. For centuries, portraits used to be a baronial symbol of wealth and loftiness. In addition to the former purposes, contemporary portraiture brings along limitless possibilities of questioning and critiquing the perception around the human figure.
JUDGES QUOTE | LEE MADGWICK
‘Dorian's wonderful life-size painting fully captures the sitter's detail in every aspect. There's a slight awkwardness with crossed feet, hands clasped, mouth ever-so-slightly agape as if afraid to speak in this mysterious stark yellow room. The heavy use of black and yellow helps to create an air of caution perhaps?’
DRAWING AND PRINTMAKING
Ana Sofia Restrepo – University of Northampton - ‘On the Train’
The artist Ana Sofia Restrepo is interested in documenting stories born from random encounters as a way of directing attention to the quotidian. The little moments which fill everyday life and make it special, but might seem insignificant next to big milestones.
The drawing ‘On the train’ was created after seeing a man traveling on his own to London. He was completely absorbed in something he was listening to, almost unaware of his surroundings. There was a singular contrast between the sense of isolation and the crowded place. However, his was a voluntary isolation, it talked about purpose and enjoyment. In the drawing, the white space in the window and the omission of the passengers, help focus the viewer's attention on the man. Hoping to make them part of the experience shared by the artist traveling next to him.
In public spaces, one has the chance to share a few minutes with strangers. There’s a momentary connection, and it is easy to observe each other and get a glimpse into the stories of others. What is perceived and the observer’s interpretation combine to create tales and characters part evidence and part imagination.
JUDGES QUOTE | KATE JONES
‘I love the composition of this piece. Its contemporary yet nostalgic. Beautifully executed, but that’s secondary for me. It’s the subject matter and composition that makes this the winning piece in my eyes. I love the quiet simplicity of work on paper and how much strength this piece has.’
PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM
Tottie Aarvold – Hereford College of Art - ‘Behind Closed Doors’
Tottie Aarvold is an artist and fine art photographer who focuses on the abstract qualities of the world in paint or through a lens. She sees her photographic images as ‘found paintings’, an organic fusing of both the human and natural world. She is drawn to textures, layers and entropy. Her images are of the abandoned and unnoticed, the unusual and random in everyday life.
Tottie Aarvold’s work is very personal and involves self-exploration. She has worked for many years as a psychotherapist which has led to her interest in the hidden and revealed, in what lies beneath. Aarvold creates a story, an uncertainty and psychological confusion in her work. She aims to convey pathos and loss, to show the barriers between reality and illusion.
It is important to her that the photographic image is as she saw it, that it isn’t highly manipulated in Photoshop. She uses natural light and never alters a scene. The camera is her eye, it captures what stands out for her in the world.