Last night we attended the private view of the ThreadNeedle Prize exhibition hosted by the Mall Galleries which featured DeLaMain artist Nik Ellis (one half SNIK).
The votes are in and of the 6 shortlisted artists, the ThreadNeedle committee announced for the first time in it’s history, joint winners to split the £30, 000 purse. Artists Clare McCormak and Lisa Wright shared the honour.
McCormak’s submission, titled ‘Dead Labour/Dead Labourer, is a full length woodcut portrait of her grandfather printed onto worn scaffolding boards. A deeply personal piece, the medium works twofold; on one side reflecting his life spent working in the building industry, on the other; his death from an asbestos related illness. Interestingly, exposure to asbestos remains is the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK with 4,000 deaths a year.
Lisa Wright’s winning piece was less personal but no less poignant. Exploring feelings of embarrassment, confusion and awkwardness in adolescence, Wright speaks to our shared sensibilities as people in ‘The Guilty’s Gaze on the innocent’ a very textural, almost raw oil painting on canvas.
Beautifully curated, the art was divided across three rooms emphasizing the eclectic mix of styles and mediums. Nik’s submission ‘All in forms’, a 5 layer stencil with spray paint on cardboard looked right at home, hanging next to the awesome photorealistic paintings of Jan Mikulka.
Nik had previously described his acceptance into the exhibition as ‘surreal’. When asked for his reaction now, seeing his work displayed on the walls of the Mall Galleries, Nik said this;
“To me there has always felt like there is a barrier between urban art galleries and shows, and the more contemporary side of things. Transitioning the two is always a tough job, and very few manage to successfully make it to the more contemporary galleries. To be included in this show, alongside some fantastic works and great artists, is very humbling and also very inspiring. Breaking down the pre-conceptions of stencil art is always a top priority for my work, and I feel this has given me a great chance to do this.”
All visitors can vote for their favourite piece for the Visitors Choice Award. The winning artist is to be announced on Thursday 10th October 2013 and will win £10,000! So, if you happen to be in town, stop by, check out the collection and cast your vote! *cough* *SNIK*.
Exhibition runs until 12th October 2012 at Mall Galleries, The Mall (near Trafalgar Square), London, SW1