This post has:
- a video of my walk round the Derwent Art Prize 2014 exhibition - to give you a feel for what it it looks like
- some general observations about the exhibition
- the artworks which caught my eye - including those that I would have had on my short list for prizewinners
Video - a walk round the Derwent Art Prize exhibition
There are some incredibly impressive artworks in coloured pencil. If you want to see what can be achieved with coloured pencils then this is the exhibition to come and see. This exhibition also clearly highlighted for me how much more impressive coloured pencil works are when artists don't constrain the size of their pieces. Three of the four pieces were very much bigger than those typically seen in exhibitions of coloured pencil art. Time for coloured pencil artists to have a think about size as well as technique!
The pieces worth remaking upon for me were as follows
|"After Dinner" (coloured pencil) by Tegan Iversen |
an Australian artist, currently studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drawing)
at the Victorian College of the Arts. This is a huge drawing with large marks.
|"Vitality" (coloured pencil) by French artist Isabelle Cridlig (or 'big blue' as I kept calling it.)|
the image on the left in this panoramic shot
A lot of people were assuming this one had won prior to the announcement.
Virtually everybody I spoke to liked it
|This is what 'Vitality' looked like close up - lots of shapes which suggested people|
- or some other sort of life - swimming
As good an argument as many for the need to see - and judge - a work in person
|a close up of part of Patsy Whiting's coloured pencil piece which won Third Prize|
Note the texture and the delicacy of the treatment of both light and colour.
|Extreme right: The Cloud (coloured pencil) by Meghan Hyckie|
Meaghan is a Canadian ex pat.
Her artwork was very amorphous - as all good clouds should be - and full of mark-making
There were three series which stood out for me
- one received an award - The Devolution Series by Natasha-Anne Aplin who won the Young Artist Award (see Derwent Prize Exhibition 2014 - Other prizewinners)
- another received a special commendation for one of her drawings in the series of three drawings by Katarzyna Wiesiolek (see Derwent Prize Exhibition 2014 - Other prizewinners)
- However for me the absolute showstopper series - for all sorts of reasons - were the drawings by Jessie Brennan. For me they looked like an absolute certainty for a prize - and a lot of people at the Private View seemed to think the same.
The drawings are entitled 'A Fall of Ordinariness and Light' and visualise the ‘progression’ of the buildings’ imminent demise, symbolising the fall of social ideals of progress.
The lesson from the series I saw in this exhibition is that if you are going to submit more than one drawing, it's better to make it part of a series.
Interestingly I found the more detailed representational drawings in the exhibition did not "call to me" unless they had interest within the picture or a story about them.
Technical precision on its own did not have an impact.
These four drawings were much more interesting
|A corner of the North Gallery|
I think it's a great pity there are no 3D works in this year's show unlike last year which demonstrated very clearly that drawing in pencils is not limited to a 2D format. The decision not to include any seemed to me to be a retrograde step - there again, maybe the ones submitted were not deemed worthy by the Judges. It did seem very odd since I gather one of the aims of the judges was to try and show the range of ways in which pencils can be used to create art.
I do think there needs to be a review of what is meant by "pencil". If pastel sticks and charcoal sticks are agreed to be pencils then so be it - that's fine. However it did strike me that some of the works didn't actually have a close relationship with a pencil!
The exhibition is generally speaking a well hung show. There's a sense of those works having a relationship one to the other being given the space they need.
|A contrast between the very professional and |
a presentation which has scope for improvement
- shame, because the drawing is excellent!
Indeed the Derwent Art Prize exhibition had an interesting mix of very professional with corners which had an air of final degree show about them - which, while I was writing that, actually seemed very unfair to the proper presentation of a lot of work seen in final degree shows!
It also seemed somewhat ludicrous to have drawings with a significant value held up by bulldog clips!
If the sponsors wish for the exhibition to continue to gain status I recommend that they insist on all 2D works being framed.
There are framers in London who will frame works for exhibitions (i.e. frame on loan) and this is a suitable option for overseas entrants.
Bottom line it just seems unfair to me that people living in the UK should go to the trouble and expense of getting their work framed and shipped down to London when these aren't expenses which need to be deducted from (say) the individual winning the £6,000 first prize!
For those looking to submit work in the future, in terms of frames you can see from the video that they are VERY neutral - mainly black, white, grey, bleached wood or natural light woods. In other words the standard London exhibition frame!
Finally - I'd love to give you links to the details of the works of the artists shown in this post - but the exhibition website is still not working!
Derwent Art Prize - Links to previous blog posts
- Derwent Art Prize 2014 - Two People's Choice Awards 30 Jul 2014 - The Derwent Art Prize offers two opportunities for the public to vote for the People's Choice Award in relation to the artwork selected for exhibition and - this year for the first time - all entries as well.
- The 2nd Derwent Art Prize - Call for Entries 10 Feb 2014 - 2nd Derwent Art Prize - for pencil art: an overview and commentary on Call for Entries plus review of last year re. selected artwork, prizewinners and exhibition.
- Chrys Allen wins inaugural Derwent Art Prize for pencil art 19 Sep 2013 - Review of the inaugural Derwent Art Prize 2013 for pencil art -Prizewinners and Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.
- The Derwent Art Prize - a discussion 20 Jul 2013 - Review of the Derwent Art Prize and issues raised by this art competition in its first year.