Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Threadneedle Prize shortlist

Last year I decided to institute my shortlist for the Threadneedle Prize - see Selection for Threadneedle Prize & my shortlist.

In 2010, unlike the judges I'm not proposing to work as a team in selecting my shortlist from works in the Threadneedle Prize 2010 Exhibition - so my perspective is a unique one!

My shortlist for the Threadneedle Prize

Interestingly, three of the works I've chosen for my shortlist this year are sculptures and seemed to me to be strong pieces which I certainly rated higher than some of the works included in the selectors' shortlis.  They were all pieces which were really memorable for me - and ones which i walked around and looked at a lot more than some of the paintings in the exhibition.

Two of the works are on the selectors' shortlist and a third is by an artist on the shortlist.

Inscape I by Patricia Cain

Inscape I by Patricia Cain
Pastel, 170 x 105 cms
Patrica Cain has two of the Riverside Museum drawings in this year's exhibition and is one of very few artists to have more than one work included.  One of her works is shortlisted for the prize but I actually prefer this one.

It's really good to see works in pastel being appreciated in a competition of this kind.

You can see more of her Riverside Museum drawings on her website

Road Side by Paul Cummings

Road Side by Paul Cummings
Acrylic on canvas, 240 x 240 cms

This work definitely leaves an impression when you see it for the first time.  It leaves even more of an impression when you see it in person for the first time as it is huge.

It's also shortlisted for the prize.  I guess of all the works shortlisted it's the one that will be most probably be remembered by those visiting the exhibition.

Car Boot Closing by Thomas Doran

Car Boot Closing by Thomas Doran
Oil on wood, 10.5 x 13 cms

This work is on the selectors' shortlist for the Threadneedle Prize.

I was absolutely amazed when I saw this in person as I thought it was quite a large painting.  In fact, while not a miniature per se, it is certainly a very small painting.

I loved the incongruity of the objects and setting and it seemed to me to take a somewhat wry look at the urban landscape.  This was the work I voted for because it was the one I remembered the next morning.
Never mind urban foxes, I give you car park elves.  On a flat January day I glipsed this sub-Narnian scene through a wire fence and felt obliged to commeromorate it.....some conjecture and good old artistic licence was necesssary but I resisted the temptation to tidy up too much, staying true to the basic compsition as first seen for better or worse
Plexus by Valerie Jolly

Plexus by Valerie Jolly
Tissue paper, water, PVA glue, 106 x 62 x 21 cms

There's an amazing translucence in Valerie Jolly's cast sculpture - in tissue paper. I think this might very well have been my winner if it had been included in the selectors' shortlist.
I cast objects in sticky wet tissue paper and when the paper dries, what I peel off carries the form and marks of the original, only it is colourless and weightless. This technique enables me to capture, almost literally in the sense of “stealing”, all the details, even the most minute ones, of the original object without damaging it. The formal and material qualities of the tissue paper also allow me to deconstruct, reconstruct, transform the original object/space into something else.
You can see more of her sculptures on her website - I also particularly liked her 3D drawings

Sunlight in Rodins House by Peter Kelly

Sunlight in Rodins House, Oil on canvas, 54 x 39 cms, £3,500

Sunlight in Rodins House by Peter Kelly
Oil on canvas, 54 x 39 cms
I really like paintings which do what this one does - catch a fleeting glimpse of light and shadow in any place but art galleries in particular.  The bigger picture that they create can be entrancing and they are often ones I like staring at again and again.

This painting has a wonderful grasp of tonal values and subdued and muted colours.  The artist is a master of the art of contrast.

It's one that I could live with very happily should it be hanging on my wall.

Its a Bloomin Marble! by Garry Martin

Its a Bloomin Marble! by Garry Martin
(Ed 1 of 10) Marble dust, polyester resin, 35 x 25 x 25 cms

I just kept walking round and round this completely audacious work by Garry Martin which challenges your perception in a major way.

To all intents and purposes it looks as if it's solid marble sculpture of a balloon resting purely on the balloon's tied 'end'.  It made me feel like I dare not breathe and certainly couldn't go too close in case I might knock it over.

Learning that it is in fact marble dust and polyester resin persuades me that it might not be damaged if its balance should be disturbed for any reason.

I liked walking round and round it just looking at how the cast shadows and reflected light changed as I did so.  I took more photographs of this one than any other in the show and was hard put to choose just one for this post.

Oil Baron by Martin Roberts

Oil Baron by Martin Roberts

Mixed metal, 158 x 95 cms
Oil Baron is a fun piece by Martin Roberts which brings a smile to the face of everyone I've met who has seen it.  I met the sculptor last night and heard a bit more about how it was made.  The top half is a found object - an old Castrol oil can.  He cast the legs and the cloven hoofs for it to sit on.

I loved the way I couldn't quite tell whether or not the thighs were designed for the piece or were yet more found objects

You can see more of Martin's sculptures on his website - which is also good fun!  How nice to be able to smile when viewing an artist's website!

Announcement of the Threadneedle Prize 2010

Tonight, I'm off to the Awards Dinner at the Mall Galleries where the winners of the prizes will be announced.

More about this tomorrow!  I did however have a read of some of the comments in the Comments book and there are certainly others like me who thought that the £10,000 Visitors' Choice Award should have been chosen from any of the pieces in the show - as happens for The BP Visitors Choice Winner

Links to earlier posts about the Threadneedle Prize 2010


  1. Thank you for introducing me to Patricia Cain. I would not have known her work, had I not stopped in here and viewed this post. TY

  2. Why is it called the Threadneedle Prize when no one actually has...threaded a needle?

  3. Backed by investment bankers

    Plus Bank of England is in Threadneedle Street! See


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