Sunday, 31 March 2013

Northern Art Prize 2013

I visited Leeds Art Gallery on Wednesday 27th March 2013, to attend the opening night of The Northern Art Prize.
A new exhibition of work by four artists, each competing for £16,500 prize money and the title of sixth Northern Art Prize winner, will feature new and specially reconfigured work by shortlisted artists Margaret Harrison, Rosalind Nashashibi, Emily Speed and Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan.

Emily Speed's audience participation piece, two seats inside a make shift room.
‘Carapaces’ (meaning an organic bony case or shield covering an animal) is a work that considers the idea of a personal or psychological space. Its two-person sized structure-on-wheels hints at protection and vulnerability, isolation and co-dependency. ‘Carapaces’ takes inspiration from the improbable, intimate and strangely scaled buildings in the frescos of Renaissance artist Giotto.

Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan have worked collaboratively since 1995 making images, sculptural objects and installations that pose questions as to how we understand art.
‘The Reiterative Grimace’ is a new work made specifically for the Northern Art Prize.  It brings together two painted temporary structures framing the entrances to two interior galleries, one a home to part of the Leeds collection of 19th century Art, the other an entrance to the temporary exhibition spaces. These large painted  ‘portals’ highlight pivotal points at which the historic collection meets spaces in the Gallery used for temporary exhibitions.

Margaret Harrison showcases her new series of work entitled ‘Reflect’.
‘Common Reflections’ is a reconstruction and reinterpretation of a perimeter fence from RAF Greenham Common. The installation presents the occupation of a site adjacent to the base where, in 1981, women set up a legendary peace camp to protest against the nuclear weapons located there. The work comprises two opposing constructions of concrete posts, wire, mirrors and corrugated zinc sheeting and is strewn with personal items – children’s clothing, toys, photographs and kitchen ephemera. This work excavates many of the themes about women and their position in society that Harrison has explored since her first solo show in 1971. The mirrors echo the ways protesting women held up mirrors to reflect back the base and those guarding (as if to hold them to account). Here they also serve to disorient the gallery viewer with a disconcerting sense of both viewing and being viewed.


The photograph directly below, which I couldn't capture on the day for all of the people, was taken by Jules Lister, of Rosalind Nashashibi's piece from the collection called ‘A New Youth’.
Created for the Northern Art Prize, includes a tree displaying a photograph of a denim-clad crotch of indefinite sex, and a large cartoon illustration of Mickey Mouse’s hands in a familiar Buddha gesture.
Nashashibi’s new print work locates masculinity in a particularly literal place. ‘Monster Walk’ comprises nine unique prints on paper, made by putting men’s jeans and underwear through a printing press, leaving the paper inked and in places worn through with the stamp of every stitch and crease of the fabric. Often the jeans rise up from the ankles as far as the thighs and then stop, to reveal a white expanse at the top of the leg, and the underwear is exposed. These halved figures invoke the crude and absurd nature of bodies and things, through their exaggerated crotches, their intimacy with the body and their trace of the real object; and in this last aspect they bear a resemblance to film and photographic processes.

(All photographs taken by myself, unless stated, most information from the link below.)

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