Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 20 August - 6 September 2008
In partnership with
If the work our selectors have chosen can meet Lucian Freud’s requirements to astonish, disturb, seduce and convince, then we’ve made a good start. Our goal is to celebrate the finest in contemporary figurative art; to provide a showcase where figurative artists, working in a range of different media, can excite, stimulate and provoke in a way that encourages us to look anew at the world around us. Figurative art has a powerful and vital role to play in embracing constant change. Therefore, one aim has been to seek out work that engages directly with current day issues. However, it’s also a hugely popular form of art that invites technical skill and excellence in interpretation. So traditional themes are celebrated too.
First and foremost, we are indebted to all the artists who submitted work for this competition. We had more than 2700 entries from more than 1500 emerging as well as established artists. We’re grateful for their support and congratulate all those artists who were selected.
Simon Davies, Executive Chairman, Threadneedle Investments Limited It’s both humbling and encouraging to know that so many artists are prepared to put their work through such a rigorous process of selection. It’s now your turn to express your admiration by voting for the one shortlisted artist you feel should win the £25,000 Threadneedle Figurative Prize. We’d also like to thank our panel of selectors, who gave up so much of their personal time to ensure that every work was given the proper consideration it merited. Reviewing this number of works over two frenetic days of selection must have been a daunting prospect, but their passion to respect the process remained throughout. We are especially grateful to our sponsors. Threadneedle first expressed their support for the Mall Galleries when they agreed to sponsor our refurbishment in 2007. Their title sponsorship of the Threadneedle Figurative Prize demonstrates a commitment to contemporary figurative art that has
proved unwavering since our association began. Without their support, we could never have set out on this journey. We’re also thrilled to welcome JPMorgan as Partner Sponsor. With their long-term commitment to developing new ways to support the arts, their encouragement to emerging artists and new audiences makes them a valued partner sponsor to this competition. We’d also like to thank Arts & Business, whose generous grant enabled us to attract the attention of so many gifted artists. There is one further valued supporter whose confidence in the future of The Federation of British Artists extended to the donation of the Prize for the £10,000 FBA Selectors’ Choice. Even though they asked to remain anonymous, I hope they realise how much we appreciate their generosity. Finally, I would like to thank all my colleagues. They have been unstinting in their support and committed at all times to this competition’s success. To them I owe a huge personal expression of gratitude.
“What do I ask of painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce and convince.” (Lucian Freud)
We are very proud to be associated with the Threadneedle Figurative Prize. This is the first year of this major new arts award and there are a number of reasons why we were attracted to it. Figurative art is a medium that has a great history and strong traditions, and in confident hands, it needn’t be traditional. We see in figurative art something that remains fresh, vibrant and relevant to contemporary audiences. So, when Threadneedle began discussions with the Mall Galleries about creating a contemporary figurative art prize, we started with two aspirations. First, we wanted to create a vital new platform for artists to share exciting, bold work. We also wanted to entice new audiences to consider figurative art for the first time, and to get others to challenge their existing assumptions. I believe with the works selected for the first year of the Prize we will achieve both aims. I work in a business where the insight, courage and conviction of our people
delivers out-performance for us and our clients. It’s a world that recognises the value of bold thought and developing and holding independent views. I think these attributes are evident in the artists that are being exhibited. The artists here have used recognised forms, styles and conventions in dramatic new ways. The selectors had a nearly impossible task to choose just 71 works to share with you. Both the number and quality of the entries are a testament to the merit of creating a new platform to exhibit figurative work. The selectors have chosen works from both well-recognised names and a number of startling newcomers about whom we will hear – and see – much more. This breadth shows the vibrancy of the contemporary figurative art scene. I hope this exhibition stimulates you to ask new questions and helps you to discover fresh answers.
PARTNER SPONSOR’S FOREWORD
At JPMorgan, we believe that the arts have the power to do many things. Inspire. Unite. Challenge. Enlighten. Stimulate. Confront. Question. Change.
support of artists who are shaping the future by venturing into new territory through their vision, and creating art that challenges us to think about things in a different way.
Through the Threadneedle Figurative Prize, we have the opportunity to celebrate that power through the new and innovative work that has been submitted by both established and emerging artists.
We are very proud to be the Partner Sponsor to this new initiative which champions and encourages innovation and excellence among artists, aims which reflect our firm’s core values of integrity, respect, excellence and innovation. We look forward to continuing to develop the partnership with the Mall Galleries both through this new venture and to explore opportunities to support the development of their New Core Education Plan.
Through our longstanding commitment to supporting the arts, JPMorgan has been privileged to partner with many artists and cultural institutions across the world in support of their vision, work and endeavours to connect and engage new audiences. Indeed, in these times of often turbulent change, the arts have more to contribute than ever. We are delighted to support the Mall Galleries through our partnership role within this competition. We recognise it will provide a vital platform to continuing the
We congratulate all the artists who submitted their work, the selectors who have the unenviable task of selecting the shortlist and to all the public who will vote on the winning work.
IN PRAISE OF FIGURATIVE ART Karen Wright, freelance writer and curator ‘Inspire. Unite. Challenge. Enlighten. Stimulate. Confront. Question. Change.’
A prize for figurative art is a daring choice at a time when critics writing about a man running through the Duveen Gallery of Tate Britain dominate national newspaper arts columns. This is another work by Martin Creed, infamous for winning the Turner Prize with his light switch piece. While the recent historic figurative shows have thrilled, there is no doubt that lovers of more traditional figurative art have had a hard time seeing contemporary works that are exciting and fresh and not just anachronistic daubs relating back to a more innocent age. There have been places to go to see current figurative art during the siege of the contemporary. Both the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and the ‘Summer Show’ at the Royal Academy have continued to put up shows of artists, predominantly working in more traditional styles. But even the bastion of conservatism the Royal Academy has questioned the validity of the more traditional figural proponents by inviting contemporary artists Michael Craig-Martin, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Jenny Saville and Antony Gormley
to become Royal Academicians to join the dwindling ranks of more traditional figurative artists. The National Portrait Gallery itself has also broken the mould of traditional portraiture by commissioning portraits of contemporary figures like David Beckham in video, a less traditional medium by contemporary artists like Sam Taylor-Wood.
great modernist figurative painter of the 20th century, Paul Cézanne.
While the figurative artists may have felt under siege, under appreciated and not supported by art schools, major galleries and art institutions, this was not always the case. Not that long ago there were major shows at the Tate of Francis Bacon, William Coldstream, David Bomberg, Leon Kossoff, Lucian Freud, RB Kitaj and Frank Auerbach.
There was a moment when the figurative legacy seemed to have become the national contemporary style, but this was all to change with a single show, ‘Freeze’, in 1988 in a warehouse which was curated by a young, then unknown art student Damien Hirst, and which marked the birth of a group of artists to be named YBAs (Young British Artists). The members of this group became the darlings of critics, gallerists and the next generation of young curators and were soon to become more powerful than the critics who were writing the column inches.
Hip collectors like singer David Bowie unapologetically bought Euan Uglow, an unashamed figurative painter who utilised the old fashioned calliper measuring technique which, rather like contemporary architecture, he insisted on showing on the outside rather than being masked by decoration. Uglow owed more artistically to the technique of Coldstream than to the
Into this new world established critics like Brian Sewell, a selector for this prize, attacked the more progressive critics like Richard Cork, another selector. Sewell argued that technique was being disenfranchised in the pursuit of conceptual ideas and materiality, while Cork argued that there was no right or wrong way but that technique alone was not enough.
IN PRAISE OF FIGURATIVE ART CONTINUED
At one point, painting and by extension the traditional skills were officially declared dead and in a memorable television programme claiming that painting was dead, Guardian critic Waldemar Januszczak was terrified by a drunk and out of control Tracey Emin. As an artist it seemed important to take a position. Either you were a conceptual artist or you were not. If you were a conceptual painter then your works had to be explained in a different terminology than if you were a more ‘instinctual’ artist. The irony of course was that the work often looked the same. A figurative artist like George Shaw, who was included in hip exhibitions like ‘Days Like These’, the Tate Triennial of 2003, and was beloved by the conceptual hip critics like Gordon Burn, could also pass muster with the more traditional critics. Works in this exhibition, like Off road – SUV by Nick Pace or Festival by Jake Clark both walk this tight rope between the two critical camps.
Did this polarisation have an affect on artists themselves? I think most definitely.
The choice of where you went to study was essential. Artists in this period who wanted to be more traditional figurative practitioners felt marginalised and unsupported in their institutions. When I visited British sculptor Thomas Houseago in Los Angeles where he now lives and works, he admitted he left his native England to study in Holland as he felt so unsupported in his home country. Houseago is now a “hot” contemporary artist collected by all the right collectors including both the Rubells and Steven Cohen, yet his work evolves clearly from traditional figurative sculpture. He himself unashamedly admits that his heroes are Rodin and Michelangelo. If you were accepted as hip then figurative work, even of the most traditional variety would be accepted as “cool” and contemporary. Marc Quinn’s recent show ‘Evolution’ at the White Cube included a set of the most conservative marble sculptures to be seen recently in a contemporary gallery. The subject matter, foetuses emerging roughly from stone,
were based I was told in hushed tones on Michelangelo’s slaves and made in marble from Pietrasanta where the marble was quarried for Michelangelo’s David. The irony was that these works were put forward as traditional but their robotic technique bore no critical resemblance to the sensitive rendering and relationship to materiality that was evident in the master’s work. Even arguably the most influential and expensive artist of our day, Damien Hirst, has recently and increasingly turned toward figuration, clothing it in the rhetoric of conceptual. His super realistic paintings revealed in ‘The Elusive Truth’ a large show in 2005 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, was an indication that the tide had turned back towards figuration. Hirst found his images in newspapers, on computers or in personal experience like the birth of his child and then had his assistants render them onto canvases that looked remarkably old fashioned. The trick was to close your eyes to the signature and judge them for what they were.
While the more conceptual artists were exploring the possibility of figuration, the more traditional adherents of the subject were playing with the potential of the conceptual. This is not surprising as artists spend a lot of time playing with materials. It would be surprising if artists as savvy and competent as Anthony Green, an older Royal Academician, was not exploring the toy chest of his more conceptual artistic peers like Tracey Emin. Green’s contribution to the Threadneedle exhibition shows a figurative artist comfortable with the painterly tools of his trade and exploring the potential of more sculptural possibilities. It, like many of the entries in the show, illustrates the struggle between painting and sculpture first explored when artists like Ellsworth Kelly started shaping their canvases and exploring the potential of two versus three-dimensional work. Sculptors are not excluded from this exhibition and Deborah van der Beek with her imposing large centaur sculpture, composed seemingly of an agglomeration of materials, and the wall piece of faceless
‘Is a cultural divide necessary or even relevant any more?’
hoodies, a work by Janette Harris made of discarded plastic Tesco bags, flirt with new materials. Tim Shaw’s Tank on fire, a mysterious black sculpture, owes more than a passing glance to the vitrine works of the Chapman Brothers and is none the worse for it. The real potential of a prize for figuration would be the ability to encourage artists to be proud of their involvement with a medium that has recently been perceived as irrelevant and old fashioned. The starting point might well be to accept the increasing merging together of the formerly disparate groups of artists. It should not
have been surprising to have a painter, Gillian Carnegie, appear as a finalist for the Turner Prize in 2005. She was merely following in the footsteps of Jenny Saville who, with her explorations of her own body seen in ‘Sensation’ and later in the Saatchi Collection, proved that there were new ways of depicting the female form. There are several painters in this exhibition also experimenting with new forms of portraiture and scale, not least among them the veteran artist Tai-Shan Schierenberg and Eloiza Mills with her intricately detailed miniature portraits on copper. So is a cultural divide necessary or even relevant any more? While the bastions of the conceptual move ever closer to the figurative and the more traditional artists move closer to the conceptual, a more consensual approach with more diverse exhibitions becomes ever more relevant. It will be interesting to see the evolution of this prize over the years ahead. Hopefully there will be more and more artists entering into the arena of figuration from both sides of this narrowing cultural divide.
An award-winning art critic, historian, broadcaster and exhibition curator, Richard Cork now writes for the Financial Times, The Guardian and a wide range of magazines in Britain and abroad. He is also Art Critic at the New Statesman. A frequent contributor to BBC radio and television programmes, he has organised major exhibitions at Tate, the Hayward Gallery and the Royal Academy. He has acted as a judge for many leading art prizes and commissions, among them the Turner Prize.
Todayâ€™s renaissance in British contemporary art owes much to gallery owners like Angela Flowers, who championed the cause in the Sixties and Seventies. Angela used her first Soho premises to introduce new, exciting artists, along with senior, established artists who deserved wider appreciation. Successful shows launched or relaunched the careers of Tom Phillips, Derek Hirst, Boyd & Evans, Patrick Hughes and many others. Today, Angela is Chairman of Angela Flowers plc with galleries in London and New York.
Hew Locke is a mixed-media sculptor whose work blurs the boundaries between drawing, sculpture and installation. Born in Edinburgh, Hew grew up in Guyana, influencing his style and themes of working. Hew has installed works at the V&A Museum, London and on the faĂ§ade of Tate Britain. He has shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions in London and New York and his work is in several prestigious collections. His next solo exhibition opens at Rivington Place, London in September 2008.
William Packer writes for the Financial Times where he was principal Art Critic until 2004. He has served on several advisory bodies, notably the Crafts Council and the Government Art Collection Committee, as well as on many exhibition selection panels, notably the John Moores and the Hunting Art Prizes. William trained as a painter at Wimbledon School of Art and has continued as a painter, first exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1963.
As addicted to art as others are to alcohol and nicotine, Brian Sewell has been the Art Critic of the Evening Standard for a quarter of a century, the sad end of a once promising career, his many prizes for criticism and journalism scant consolation to a man who earlier enjoyed life as a scholar gypsy. The Arts and British Councils, the Royal Academy and the Royal Collection have all at some time given him employment. For amusement he writes with equal expertise on old motor cars, on opera and on the three rescued dogs who share his life. 9
Threadneedle Figurative Prize
A shortlist of seven works from the exhibition is made by the Selectors. The artist who receives the largest share of public votes, cast during the exhibition, is awarded the Prize of £25,000.
After you’ve seen the exhibition, vote for your choice of artist to win the £25,000 Threadneedle Figurative Prize.
Federation of British Artists Selectors’ Choice
Your vote really counts.
2. Visitors are restricted to ONE vote per person at the exhibition, throughout the course of the exhibition.
This £10,000 Prize is awarded by the Selectors for a work of outstanding merit.
Voting starts on Tuesday 19 August 2008 and ends at 12 noon on Wednesday 3 September 2008.
3. Votes cast by email will not be accepted until they have been validated. After you have voted online, an email will be sent to your email address. You must follow the instructions for validation in order for your vote to be counted.
The Arts Club Award This award, comprising one year’s free membership of The Arts Club, Dover Street, London W1 is judged by The Arts Club Committee.
All prize winners will be announced at a special Awards event at the Mall Galleries, London on the evening of 3 September 2008.
1. You may cast ONE vote only for ONE of the following seven shortlisted works. You may vote at the exhibition or by email on a one email one vote basis (i.e. from one IP address).
4. Figures showing the progress of the voting will not be published during the course of the exhibition. 5. The artist who receives the largest number of votes cast at the exhibition and online before voting closes at 12 noon on 3 September 2008 will be the winner of the Threadneedle Figurative Prize. 6. In the event of a tie, the Prize will be split. 7. An independent adjudicator will oversee the voting process.
Tim Shaw Tank on fire Wax, steel, black plastic on smoked wooden plinth, edition of 5 bronze, 5 wax 167 x 69 x 49 cms “This work refers to a series of photographs taken in Basra in 2005. These shocking images have a macabre appeal. While making this piece I visited some soldiers from a tank battalion that had fought in Iraq. Listening to their experiences I became acutely aware of the plight of each individual within the frame of that newspaper photograph. I tried to imagine the thoughts and feelings that would race through the mind of someone who is being consumed by fire – caught between the two worlds of life and death – the panic associated with the instinct to stay alive and the terror of losing one’s life.”
Paul Brandford The clothes show Oil on board 102 x 122 cms “I have painted dictators, monarchs and politicians for five years using press photographs as a starting point. Dictators especially love to decorate themselves with ribbons and medals which symbolise righteous authority and ongoing legitimacy. When I paint such things it provides an opportunity to instinctively explore the physical and visual properties of the medium, the result of this degrades that sense of pristine facade that totalitarianism often insists upon fabricating for ceremonial display. Traditional portraiture places great importance upon facial definition, I try not to overwork or illustrate dictators’ faces rendering them both visually ambiguous and in consequence unknowable.” 13
Eloiza Mills Hannah Oil on copper 11 x 14 cms
Tai-Shan Schierenberg Self-portrait as a man of clay Oil on canvas 153 x 122 cms
“When working, I feel ease in the flow of looking and copying; in responding to a painting’s requirements moment by moment. Flow is achieved by fine attention, which also creates a peaceful, expansive state of mind. It is this silent presence (as I have experienced in the work of Vermeer, amongst others) that I have tried to instil in Hannah. I hope to allow the viewer a moment of calm, and, by choosing as my subject the human figure, question the ultimate truth of our ever changing bodies and minds compared with the more permanent, steady and ever-accessible inner presence.”
“When the Greek gods invented humans and animals they gave the task of actually making them to Prometheus and his brother who proceeded to sculpt them out of clay. However, having made the animals first they found they had run out of interesting physical attributes to give to humans, so they gifted them with the arts as an act of compensation. What does it physically feel like to be one of Prometheus’s creations, and what are the possibilities and limitations we share with this very first maker of human likenesses, and is art any kind of compensation?”
Nina Murdoch Untitled Egg tempera 152 x 122 cms
Anthony Green The heaven and earth machine Oil, wood & found objects 257 x 101 cms
“This painting happened by chance. I was looking for other subject matter in a derelict corner of London, when in front of me a pool of light appeared, momentarily transforming the bleak pavement and wall from the mundane into something sublime.
“‘Little history’ – The heaven and earth machine
I have endeavoured to regain that ephemeral sensation in this painting: stripping away all unnecessary narrative and, whilst retaining a tangible and physical space, distilling the image as far as possible to just rhythms of light, dark and colour. In turn, capturing the tension between the beauty and the menace of the space that briefly opened up before me.”
Madeleine Joscelyne (b.1910 – d.2004) The last few years of Mum’s life were difficult. She suffered from senile dementia and was unhappy. Extreme old age for Madeleine was neither attractive nor heroic. Fortunately her Catholic faith ensured that upon arrival in heaven she would be healed for all eternity. I loved her a lot. Jessica Green-Howard (b.1997) Our granddaughter is now ten. Recently we competed with her to grow the best sunflowers. Gloriously, she won! Her back garden in Frome looked like the suburbs of Arles. Jessica is bright, earnest and pretty; she will be a fine woman. I love her a lot.”
Nicholas Charles Williams Compassion postponed Oil on canvas 153 x 127 cms
â€œThis painting is one of the central works from my current series, which examines the fluidity of compassion in contemporary society and the consequences of its demise. A lost item, such as a glove, placed on a post or wall in the hope that its owner might retrieve it was once a familiar sight. I have used this small, anonymous and unrewarded act as a barometer of compassion and empathy. In contrast, it is now common to see lost items passed by, trampled and ignored â€“ an erosion aligned with the present volatile period of conflict, atrocities and terrorism.â€?
Suzie Zamit Aya Plaster, edition of 12 27 x 14 x 18 cms
Mary Jane Ansell Anima / Animus Oil on canvas 177 x 147 cms
George Triggs Movements of the mind Glass, video projection 66 x 55 x 36 cms
Jackie Anderson 1.25-1.26, Port of Spain Oil on cotton on board 122 x 198 cms
“I initially made a clay sketch of a turning, seated figure and decided to make a study of the head and neck as they formed such a beautiful shape.”
“References the influence on relationships and the unconscious of the Anima: the expression of a man’s feminine side, and the Animus: a woman’s masculine side.”
“Movements of the mind describes the murmurations of thoughts and feelings; chaotic yet working as one; the mask trying to contain the movements inside.”
“This painting depicts the people who passed me on a busy street in Trinidad over the space of one minute.” 21
David Sullivan Boo! Oil on canvas 102 x 130 cms
Paul Dodgson Soldiers Glazed Stoneware 23 x 60 x 20 cms
Duncan Wood Sunset off the M40 Oil on canvas laid on board 80 x 80 cms
Marco Carpio Hyde Park Concrete, wood, stuffed squirrel 55 x 30 x 10 cms
“In Baghdad, the boys wear adidas and football shirts, and pose with guns too big in a traditional manner. Long live the ‘War on Terror’!”
“The soldier is an ambivalent figure: both aggressor and protector. The uniform erases the soldier’s individuality, yet each solider is undeniably a unique human being.”
“This is the last in a series of three related paintings, based on small mobile phone images of urban landscape and from direct observation.”
“My inspiration lies in questioning the spatial relationship between nature and civilization, human and animal behaviour.” 23
Brian J Taylor Reg – Bull terrier Bronze, edition of 10 61 x 100 x 30 cms
Aishan Yu Happy Birthday Oil on board, paper, pencil 30 x 24 cms
Denise Russell State of undress Ceramics, steel wool & porcelain 42 x 5 cms per dress
Pei-Chun Liu Cactus man Mixed media 18 x 8 x 7 cms
“This dog was somebody’s pet and was sculpted because the owner thought he was about to die. He was difficult to sculpt as he was very disobedient. Brian measures from life, in the end Reg took 25 sittings.”
“Birth is a celebration of new fresh life, yet it is also a start of the journey to death. Happy Birthday!”
“These three figurative nightdresses represent women’s distorted views regarding their bodies. Fusion of texture and craft, woven steel wool and porcelain uniquely entwined. Harmony restored.”
“I am interested in the biology of animals and plants. The potential of what is real or imaginary, normal or abnormal is blurred and ambiguous.”
Deborah van der Beek Fifth horseman Bronze resin (for bronze), edition of 4 165 x 153 cms “Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse flows from current hopes and anxieties about life on earth. His fat belly groans with junk food; in his hand a dead or dying bird.”
Judith Barton Man in blue Mixed 163 x 113 cms
Julie Held Siesta (diptych) Oil on canvas 185 x 157 cms
Anthony Eyton Studio, morning light Oil on canvas 138 x 186 cms
“After purchasing a Jazz Saxophone at auction, the Man in blue seemed to grow from it, suggesting humanity and musicality are forever intertwined.”
“The painting is based on drawings and watercolours I made whilst my sister took a siesta each afternoon in Majorca. I loved the inside/outside contrasts.”
“‘It’s an altar piece,’ said a friend, thus opening my eyes to a lot of stuff dumped on a table. Two windows, sunlight and reflected light made it complicated.”
David Sullivan Home entertainment Oil on canvas 99 x 144 cms
George Winks Fountayne Road Mixed media 104 x 65 x 50 cms
Paul Brason Eighteen Oil on panel 153 x 107 cms
Thomas Doran Goal (wall in Middlesex) Oil on wood 15 x 13 cms
“In the dead ends of a despairing and impoverished culture, whose morality condemns the acts of its people, or the abusive exploitation of its children?”
“Due to my painting processes I was unable to paint this building from life, therefore I recreated it as a still life object in my studio.”
“My son, Oliver, at eighteen. Between boyhood and adulthood. I tried to remember and paint how it felt at that age.”
“Thomas Jones’ Wall in Naples, was the prompt for this, but the false, painted portal in my wall suggested a more sinister direction.” 29
Alex Cree Grawp and the centaurs Oil on canvas 146 x 170 cms
Paul Brandford Barking Oil on board 112 x 153 cms
Lucy Jones Why use lipstick Watercolour & pencil on paper 71 x 92 cms
Peter Monkman The visit Oil on canvas 148 x 109 cms
“This painting is based on a passage from J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is a modern day answer to the classical genre of mythological painting.”
“Barking depicts BNP party activists celebrating council seat success. Richard Barnbrook likes to wear a linen suit demonstrating the softer side of racist politics.”
“I do not have a title in mind when I start. Watercolour spreads over a wet surface; pink for an open mouth – the title Why use lipstick comes to mind.”
“I appropriate Victorian images of staged séances reactivating them, creating new meanings. An apparition of Courbet appears bringing into question notions of realism, artifice and man’s relationship with nature.”
Tom Price Corrance Road, figure I Bronze 60 x 18 x 17 cms
Peter Brown New Cavendish Street Oil on canvas 71 x 59 cms
Eloiza Mills Bob Oil on copper 11 x 8 cms
Ken Howard Lay figure and discobulus Oil on canvas 153 x 182 cms
“The figure’s scale and high level of detail places it under the close scrutiny of the viewer, slowly revealing qualities that remove it from its seemingly classical context.”
“This was painted on site over three sittings. Walter the café owner told me he’s selling up and retiring next year. Bloody Starbucks!”
“The photograph from which Bob was made was chosen for its peaceful inward focus from a group of thirty. This process allows me to materialise then select ideas.”
“If I had to paint but one subject for the rest of my life, it would be the light effects in my studio in London.” 33
Jack Milroy Into the dark wood: the little flower gatherers Cut inkjet on film 97 x 137 x 33 cms
Christy Symington Olaudah Equiano – African, slave, author, abolitionist Crystacal with pigments, paper appliqué 72 x 32 x 26 cms
Charles Hardaker Open doors – passer by Oil on canvas 92 x 122 cms
Janette Harris Man-made, re-interpreting the worthless Waste plastic 200 x 150 cms
“This work continues the theme of a collaboration with A.S. Byatt. The wood is a metaphor for the dangerous world we inhabit, the flowers and children are symbols of our lost innocence.”
“Giving due recognition to Equiano (1745-1797), who was instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain and his autobiography depicting slavery to freedom.”
“The composition is formed by the verticals of doorway and figure, contrasted with the horizontals of floor and shelf with its metronome; a moment in passing time.”
“Branded, but lacking identity, the subject and medium reflect perceived status. No narrative, only questions...” 35
Martin Fuller The reflection Oil on canvas 91 x 91 cms
Nandita Chaudhuri Bulls and bears Oil on canvas 122 x 91 cms
Susan Wilson Idaho Oil on linen 107 x 86 cms
Judith Barton Siblings in black hats Mixed 135 x 165 cms
“The reflection is not straightforwardly autobiographical. It’s about the memory of memories, so that the present is an invitation to the past; stories without end.”
“Bulls and bears is a satirical comment on the fluctuations of mercurial financial markets. The painting epitomises the underlying and shifting currents in the environment and amongst its players.”
“I was raised in cowboy country in the high country of New Zealand and there are still cowboys there. Somehow my mother let me just be a boy, making bows and arrows and treehuts.”
“Resolution is difficult, each party blinkered by discursive values. This picture shows the darker side of family life. Inspired by my life experiences and observations.”
Jake Clark Festival Oil & vinyl on canvas 91 x 66 cms
Tessa Coleman Winter 1565 Oil on canvas 92 x 122 cms
Thomas Doran Underworld II Oil on wood 17 x 12 cms
Tom Coates Corner seller in the souk, Luxor Oil on canvas 102 x 122 cms
“Festival uses collaged vinyl and different styles of painting. It is an attempt to create a hyper-real yet fractured image of seaside suburbia.”
“Breughel’s seminal landscape painting represents the essence of winter. My interpretation focuses on the great diagonals, perspective lines and picture geometry that draw one into his harsh medieval world.”
“The second in a sequence leading the viewer on a journey. This location evokes mixed responses for me, primarily offering the prospect of (mis)adventure.”
“I love travelling and exploring many regions, as a plein-air artist I get excited by the majesty and colour of everything.” 39
Domenico Berlese Benandante (good walker) Print on synthetic fabric, cotton embroidery 100 x 150 cms
Marilene Oliver Dervishes Dye sublimation on glass organza, edition of 3 220 x 45 x 30cms each
Wendy Robin From ‘1000 figures’, survival II Mixed media on paper 80 x 73 cms
George Triggs Tree man Bronze figure, tree mixed media gold leafed 42 x 36 x 46 cms
“The Benandante and his strong popular Italian tradition. When disability was a value.”
“Dervishes is made using an anonymised CT dataset, which Oliver reformulated using radiology software to present multiple encounters with a single (data) body.”
“‘I am here’ – 1000 times. Each figure marks my survival from cancer, while the radio in my studio was reporting those who did not survive Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur…”
“Tree man addresses the power of man, the fragility of nature and self, the childlike naivety of humankind and the beauty and permanence of our world.”
Marcelle Hanselaar Under my skin V Oil on canvas 100 x 130 cms
Charles Williams I know that Nelly loves me Oil on canvas 70 x 60 cms
Lucy Jones My new red glasses Watercolour & pencil on paper 71 x 92 cms
Tom Price Tennyson Street, figure I Bronze 60 x 18 x 17 cms
“This ‘under the skin reality’ where we divest ourselves of our clothes along with the many masks of excessive urges, this can solidify us like Lot’s wife or let us rise, glowing and confident out of a dog.”
“The chief rule for my painting is that there are no references, no sketches or photographs; it is all invented in the studio. It is probably autobiographical.”
“As my work has developed, I no longer use ‘Lucy Jones’ for every title. Titles have become important parts of my work, often ironic or tongue in cheek.”
“The figures are constructed from an emotional context, with their physical attributes appropriated from various sources, both imagined and from the real world.”
Alison Lambert Damon Charcoal, pastel on paper 88 x 78 cms
Jennifer McRae Roberta’s coat, Southwark Street Oil on linen 135 x 69 cms
Isobel Brigham Rebecca, 2007 Oil on canvas 110 x 89 cms
Tai-Shan Schierenberg Self-portrait as Max Beckman Oil on canvas 112 x 102 cms
“Inspired by the warrior/soldier – hero, perpetrator or victim. Most of my work is of the human head and their subjectivity is of paramount importance.”
“The faux fur with its peculiar synthesis of texture and pattern became the focus of the work, juxtaposed against the dark emblem of Roberta’s hair.”
“This picture represents two of my main interests in painting, which are the human figure and geometric design.”
“In the manner of a deluded cargo cultist, I’m impersonating Beckman; trying on his tuxedo and career to see how it feels.” 45
David Poxon Spoils of war Watercolour 62 x 92 cms
Joan Edlis Confessional Mixed 46 x 35 x 231 cms
Jackie Raybone Scatterbrain Mixed media on transparent paper 70 x 60 cms
Jo Lee Family matter Ceramic 49 x 29 x 39 cms
“I discovered this mass of discarded iron tools and remnants behind an old foundry in the shadow of Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire. Nature was busy reclaiming that which man had put together.”
“Confessional carries with it the idea of being hidden while in plain sight. Eyes and voice are muffled, trapped inside or barred from without.”
“The energy of people passing through city streets; fleeting glances, overheard snippets of conversation – the view from the window flashes by like a television screen.”
“An exploration of the embodiment of accumulated histories: of how we experience and are shaped by the constant play of memories.” 47
Helen Wilson Dancer not dancing Oil on board 91 x 91 cms
Clara Drummond Anna Oil on board 20 x 30 cms
Eloiza Mills Katey Oil on copper 13 x 10 cms
Antony Williams Nude in an interior Egg tempera 196 x 165 cms
“The world of dance has become increasingly fascinating to me having watched (in some awe) as my daughter successfully negotiated the assault course that is a professional ballet training.”
“This portrait is of Anna Dennis, a very talented opera singer, a great friend and an inspiring person to know and paint.”
“Katey was my first attempt at miniature scale work. I hope to draw the viewer into close scrutiny, which I have found paradoxically expansive.”
“I was intrigued by the position of the model in a minimal space, in contrast with the extreme detail of the window view.” 49
Nick Pace Off road – SUV Oil on canvas 52 x 62 cms
Lisa Wright Twilight boy Oil on canvas 183 x 167 cms
Kathryn Kynoch Variation on a traditional theme Oil on canvas 139 x 129 cms
Marie Harnett Delysia doorway Oil on gesso 44 x 39 cms
“Purchased in a closing sale in Arcadia, Florida, this 70’s toy represents our ‘artificial’ fossil fueled world... A still life for the 21st century!”
“Painting is a slow art and its silence is refuge from the noise of life. Twilight boy explores this silence and a child’s perception of endless time.”
“I chose this subject as an opportunity to paint flesh. I find the human form in its infinite variety pictorially inexhaustible.”
“My intention was to create a beguiling work that suggests a fragment of a story. It’s part of a series based on contemporary film stills.” 51
About Mall Galleries
The Mall Galleries are owned by The Federation of British Artists (FBA), a registered charity set up in 1961 with the aim of promoting, inspiring and educating the public about all aspects of the visual arts. Through its annual programme of exhibitions, the Mall Galleries champion great contemporary, mainly figurative art by living artists working in the UK. Exhibitions showcase work in a variety of different media and attract well established as well as new emerging talent. The Galleries host the annual exhibitions of eight prestigious art societies, all of whom welcome new artists to submit work to their exhibitions:
New English Art Club Pastel Society Royal Institute of Oil Painters Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours Royal Society of British Artists Royal Society of Marine Artists Royal Society of Portrait Painters Society of Wildlife Artists
The FBA receives no public funding and is entirely reliant for its income on sponsorship, sales commissions and membership fees. Our educational programmes are designed to provide greater access to the arts for disadvantaged children and children considered at risk. The FBA is also home to the largest life drawing society in London, the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society that meets weekly at the Mall Galleries. The Mall Galleries have recently been transformed into a modern and exciting exhibition space, creating a platform to launch major new shows of contemporary figurative art, led by the Threadneedle Figurative Prize.
index of artists
Artist Jackie Anderson Mary Jane Ansell Judith Barton Domenico Berlese Paul Brandford Paul Brason Isobel Brigham Peter Brown Marco Carpio Nandita Chaudhuri Jake Clark Tom Coates Tessa Coleman Alex Cree Paul Dodgson Thomas Doran Clara Drummond Joan Edlis Anthony Eyton Martin Fuller Anthony Green Marcelle Hanselaar Charles Hardaker Marie Harnett Janette Harris
Page 21 20 26, 37 40 13, 30 29 45 32 23 36 38 39 38 30 22 29, 39 48 46 27 36 17 42 35 51 35
Artist Julie Held Ken Howard Lucy Jones Kathryn Kynoch Alison Lambert Jo Lee Pei-Chun Liu Jennifer McRae Eloiza Mills Jack Milroy Peter Monkman Nina Murdoch Marilene Oliver Nick Pace David Poxon Tom Price Jackie Raybone Wendy Robin Denise Russell Tai-Shan Schierenberg Tim Shaw David Sullivan Christy Symington Brian J Taylor George Triggs
27 33 43 51 44 47 25 44 49 34 31 16 40 50 46 43 47 41 25 45 12 28 34 24 41
Artist Deborah van der Beek Nicholas Charles Williams Charles Williams Antony Williams Helen Wilson Susan Wilson George Winks Duncan Wood Lisa Wright Aishan Yu Suzie Zamit
Page 26 18 42 49 48 37 28 23 50 24 20
This catalogue is published to accompany the exhibition
20 August â€“ 6 September 2008 Published by The Federation of British Artists Designed by Lydia Thornley www.thornley.co.uk Cover Photography by Jack Harris Exhibition Photography by Fraser Marr Other photography courtesy of the artists Printed in Great Britain on recycled paper by Tradewinds London Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 T +44 (0)20 7930 6844 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mallgalleries.org.uk ÂŠ2008 The Federation of British Artists, London ISBN: 978-0-9560219-0-8 All works copyright the artists. The publisher would like to thank the copyright holders for granting permission to reproduce work illustrated in this catalogue. This exhibition is sponsored by Our partner sponsor is With additional sponsorship from
Our special thanks also to Martin Hartley (www.martinhartley.com), Lauren Laverne, Claire Morgan (www.independenttalent.com), Murray Gibb, Firechaser (www.firechaser.com) and The Arts Club, London.
Catalogue of Selected Artworks