Friday, September 21, 2018

Derwent Art Prize 2018: Prizewinners and Exhibition

The Derwent Art Prize 2018 prizewinners are listed below together with views of the exhibition currently on display in the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries in London - until 5pm on Sunday 23rd September 2018.

View of part of the Derwent Art Prize exhibition 2018
The Derwent Art Prize 2018 exhibition will tour to venues across the UK including

Derwent Art Prize 2018 - Prizewinners

The nationalities of those receiving prizes (and the catalogue) underline that this has become a truly international exhibition. 

The Prizewinners were announced after the exhibition opened.  I saw the exhibition before the prizewinners were announced (last night) and it was difficult to tell who would win the prizes. There's certainly a lot of good calibre work within the exhibition.

First Prize (£6,000): France Bizot (France) - Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary
colour pencil on book 22cm x 19cm
copyright France Bizot
French artist France Bizot’s intricate hand-drawn books illustrate one way in which drawing can be realised in three dimensions Derwent is proud to announce the finalists and exhibitors of the 2018 Derwent Art Prize

France Bizot is an artist who draws in printed books. She also has a second work selected for the exhibition - of two graphite drawings also within a book. Both are contained within the display boxes on plinths.

Her work belongs to the great tradition of those who produce art in published books. Not artists books as such - as these are artists who produce books of their drawings - so much as artists who use books as their support and their medium for their artwork (eg see 10 Visual Artists Who Use Books as Their Medium for more not quite the same)

France Bizot was born in 1959 and lives in Paris France. She is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. Prior to becoming an artist she had a a successful career as an artistic director in the advertising industry. In 2002 she became an artist and has in the past created drawings based on images appropriated from social media. Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions, including Fondation EDF, Paris, BACKSLASH, Paris, Galerie François Giraudeau, Paris, Galerie Privée EBC, Paris, Espace Beaurepaire, Paris, and Young Gallery, Brussels.

Her works are contained in display boxes placed on plinths

Second Prize (£3,000): Jovanka Stanojevic (Serbia) - Hair

Hair 2
Graphite pencil on paper 33 x 33cm
copyright Jovanka Stanojevic
Jovanka Stanojevic is a Serbian artist living and working in Belgrade.

She has been awarded a BA in Painting (2005) and an MFA in drawing (2009) from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. She is currently completing her PHD dissertation. Since 2008, she has worked as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Art and Design Megatrend University, Belgrade.

Her professional art work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Serbia, Germany, England, Italy, Greece, Spain and Switzerland and she has received a number of painting awards.
Her drawings and paintings are a part of public and private collections in Serbia, Germany, USA, Switzerland, Greece, Italy and Denmark.

This is a video about her work which I found online

This is how big her drawing is relative to others in the exhibition

Hair 2 is bottom right

Third Prize (£1,000): Anna Gardiner (UK) - Washday

Washday (2015)
Charcoal on paper 84 x 60cm
copyright Anna Gardiner
Anna Gardiner (born 1966, London) paints a narrative/non-narrative world of banality using the quotidian objects of our collective relationship with the landscape. Not for Gardiner the modern dystopia, nor the pastoral rolling hills – these places are firmly ‘normcore’. (from the artist's 'about' page on her website)
In 1994, she received a Masters in Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London. Subsequently, she lived for some seven years in New York City, before returning to live and work again in London.

This drawing is top left.

Young Artist Award for artists under 25 years (£750): Emma Bertin Sanabria (France) - Noé

colour pencil on paper, 60 x 40cm
copyright Emma Bertin Sanabria

Emma Bertin Sanabria is virtually unknown online. She has no website but does have an instagram account which says "Print making ENSAD Paris // SVA New York"

I think the thing I like best about her drawing is the face which speaks of a real person.  The mark making in the jacket is effective at stopping it feel like yet another photorealistic portrait.

You get a sense of its size in the photo below and you can see closeups of the work on her Instagram account.

View of the drawing in the exhibition

People's Choice Award (£750): Kin Choi Lam (Hong Kong) - Morning Assembly

Morning Assembly
Grahite pencil and colour pencil on paper 36 x 53cmcm
copyright Kin Choi Lam
I very much liked this drawing of something which every person has experienced at some time in their lives!  Except then I read the explanation on his website
There was once an incident where a depressed student wrote his teacher, who was unaware of the situation all along, a farewell letter the day before his suicide.
This depicts the day, when he holds the last letter with his left hand, while the others students are standing at the playground as usual.
Kinchoi Lam is an artist based in Hong Kong. In 2012, He graduated from the School of Creative Media, the City University of Hong Kong. His art mainly focuses on the intimate aspects of daily life, while seeking elements of mystery.

Lam won the Frist Prize in Children Picture category, Creative Writing in Chinese in 2016 and the book was later published in 2017. His drawings were exhibited in Hong Kong, London, Milan and Stockholm.

Do have a look at his drawing projects - they're fascinating

The drawing is bottom row, third column from the left

The Exhibition

67 artworks by 57 artists are hung in the exhibition - selected from 3,299 entries from around the world.

Features of artwork selected for exhibition

View of the exhibition in the Threadneedle Space at the end of Wednesday
What I noticed was:
  • The works vary a lot in terms of size - and include some very large works (of which more later in the next section of this review)
  • Most of the works in the exhibition are monochrome - typically created using graphite pencil and/or charcoal on paper - although some use coloured pencils as well.
  • Subject matter varies a lot.
    • Portraits (of people and pets) are as popular as always - with a lot leaning hard towards photorealism
    • I noted a number of imaginative / fantastical works which have been drawn in a sometimes surrealistic way
    • straight 'still life' drawings are few and far between 
    • conventional landscapes are noticeable by their virtual absence - however imagined landscapes were doing well
  • Tonal range varied hugely - and not just in relation to the media used. Some artists choose to use the full tonal range, others prefer to operate within the lighter tones while others are deep in the dark side. Sometimes I was persuaded that maybe the artist didn't know how to use more tones.
  • what was particularly interesting was the wide range / diversity of techniques on display- and a number were very refreshing to see an exhibition of pencil art.
  • In terms of style, there were a lot of visually provoking works ("why has this been drawn like that?") and rather fewer accurate renditions of what's in front of you - or more likely what's in a photograph - than some people might expect.

More views of the exhibition


I'm very disappointed that those who do not live in London have no opportunity to view all the works online via the website. In previous years there have always been images of the artwork selected for the exhibition on the Derwent Art Prize website.

It just seems very odd to me to spend all that money on the prizes and professional organisers - and to end up with no record of the artwork selected for the exhibition online - especially since this is NOT helpful to the artists selected in terms of help with raising their profile

For example - compare and contrast with the excellent Sunday Times Watercolour Competition website which has images of all the artworks for the 2018 exhibition on the exhibitions page - plus the artwork selected for exhibitions in previous years as well.

This is 2018 - and artwork lives online! It's all very well putting it up on Facebook (see the page used to vote for the People's Choice Award) - but not everybody is a member of Facebook or would think to look there - and the page is NOT REFERENCED by the website.

Plus there seems to be total confusion as to what information and images are going up on which Facebook Page.
  • the announcement of prizewinners is on the Derwent Pencils FB Page
    • but NOT on the website
    • and NOT on the Derwent Art Prize FB Page
  • there is no album for the Derwent Art Prize since the first exhibition (see the excellent album for Derwent Art Prize 2013)
  • there is no current link to the Poll - which is the only place where the artwork can be seen - and the last link to it was back in June.
Most of the communication seemed to be coming from the Derwent Blog - with the Derwent Art Prize Facebook Page lagging some way behind.

Next time this competition is run, maybe there could be better organisation and presentation of both the information for those following the competition and the visual online images - in terms of making them more accessible during the course of the exhibitions and over time?

It would also be great if large works in landscape format were not totally diminished by the format chosen to show images online - which very much favours portrait format works.  There's no way a vote can be fair given the very great difference in the ways artworks are shown. 

Provide an image for each work at a consistent percentage of their actual size - and then people will get a sense of the impact of each work - in a way which is equal.

More about the Derwent Art Prize

These are my previous blog posts about this award.

Derwent Art Prize 2018

Derwent Art Prize 2016

Derwent Art Prize 2014

Derwent Art Prize 2013

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