Is it just me, or is it you? Amartey Golding

Is it just me, or is it you? Attenborough Arts Centre premiers Amartey Golding’s largest solo show to date, offering an honest and self-implicating observation on contemporary British culture.

Multimedia artist Amartey Golding is fast attracting the attention of the international arts scene, becoming renowned for his supercharged, super sleek moving image and photography work. From April until June 2018, Attenborough Arts Centre will premier Is it just me, or is it you? Amartey Golding’s largest solo show to date, with a body of work that has taken him two years to complete.

Exhibition Invite

Press Release

At a time when otherness, difference, and separation are at the forefront of national conversation, Is it just me, or is it you? looks at the dynamics of victimhood, the cultural conceptions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and the point at which they contradict each other. Referencing music videos, anthropology, physical culture, and documentary and reality television, the exhibition uses Amartey’s own personal experiences of race to question what he sees as humanity’s need to separate; a process that runs through identity politics, encompassing gender, class, age, disability, and nationality.

Attenborough Arts Centre will premier two new films as part of Golding’s trilogy of films collectively known as Chainmail (2016-18). The first film of the series Solomon (2016) forms a loose portrait of Golding’s younger brother, the first black British male dancer of The Royal Ballet. In an abandoned building, Solomon’s face and body is clad in intricate chainmail garments weighing in at 65kg. He dances in slow motion to the notoriously homophobic lyrics of Buju Banton’s Boom Bye-Bye for several minutes before the excruciating load collapses him to the ground.

Functioning throughout the exhibition as prop, costume and metaphor, Golding’s chainmail is the product of intense labour, each chain formed by hand.


“I started making [the chainmail] when my godson lost two close friends to knife crime in separate, unrelated incidents within a week. I started looking at chainmail as a protective precaution for the people at risk, with the arduous task of making it becoming a mourning process.” – Amartey Golding.


The material historically symbolises both life and death; by protecting the life of the wearer, it enables them to take the life of another. Chainmail comes to act as double-signifier as a vehicle for exploring brutality and beauty.

Golding is passionate about his work sparking conversations between everyone, and has been developing an innovative audience development project over a number of years. Throughout the first month of the exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in CRITS, which will be premiered and added as part of the exhibition.


“CRITS came about because I was tired of having my family and friends afraid to comment on my work because they ‘don’t know anything about art,’ despite the fact that only two minutes prior, they had been discussing, in depth, the issues present in my work.” – Amartey Golding


The ‘Gogglebox style’ informal interview process aims to change the inaccessible connotations around discussing art and hopes to encourage a more realistic tone to conversations, similar to the way we enjoy talking about football or film. Golding invites people from all walks of life to discuss ‘high art,’ bringing candid opinions and a variety of perspectives into the conversation.

Is it just me, or is it you? premiers at University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre in Association with Young Masters. The Young Masters Art Prize operates as a not-for-profit initiative of the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, and is recognised as an exciting, high profile international competition that is highly innovative in its concept – to recognise contemporary art that embraces its past.

Media opportunity: Meet artist Amartey Golding and attend a private tour of Is it just me, or is it you? between 3.30pm – 4.30pm on Friday 13 April 2018 at Attenborough Arts Centre. Contact emma.lloyd@le.ac.uk to book your place and travel.

A free public celebration will be held Friday 13 April, 5.30pm – 8.30pm. Booking required.

Is it just me, or is it just you? continues Saturday 14 April and closes Sunday 7 June.

Gallery opening times: 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, 12pm – 4pm Sunday.


About Attenborough Arts Centre

Attenborough Arts Centre is Leicester’s largest contemporary arts gallery and pioneering cultural hub, offering audiences a chance to see the very best in visual and performing arts. We push the boundaries, expectations and potential of contemporary arts for both our audiences and creators in a wide programme of performance, art exhibitions, courses and workshops, and free activities for children and families.

Funded by both the University of Leicester and Arts Council England, our recent £1.5 million investment has doubled the size of our existing building and with it our audiences have grown to over 109,000 people. Our outstanding access and inclusive work has been recognised, through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, British Council, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Our work is inspired by world leading filmmaker and lifelong champion of accessible arts, Lord Richard Attenborough, our founding patron who helped to establish our arts centre over 20 years ago. We continue his legacy in striving to support everyone in having access to see and make ground-breaking arts and culture.

Twitter: @AttenboroughAC

Instagram: Instagram.com/AttenboroughAC

Facebook: facebook.com/AttenboroughArts


About Amartey Golding

Amartey Golding is a multimedia artist whose work explores humankind’s most basic motivators and the many ways they manifest within the individual and wider society. During his childhood, Golding’s family moved house regularly, not only to various contrasting communities in London but also overseas to Ghana, West Africa. These experiences of continuous fluidity and movement have undoubtedly influenced  Golding’s artwork. Golding attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and has exhibited in the Middle East and Europe with solo exhibitions in the UK, Dubai,
Germany and Denmark. He won the Granta Decorative and Fine Arts Society Award in 2007. Golding was awarded Arts Council funding to realise his Chainmail series (2016-18). In 2017, Golding was shortlisted for the Young Masters Art Prize. He recently participated in the Independent Film Trust’s 25 x 25 programme which gives 25 under-represented voices unlimited access to the Raindance Film Festival, to help inspire and develop their work.

Images: © Amartey Golding, courtesy, Young Masters / The Cynthia Corbett Gallery


International Women’s Day 2018

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we are delighted to present an exclusive online Artsy exhibition featuring a selection of works from our talented international women artists, including winners and finalists of the 2017 Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize.

View the exhibition on Artsy

Joy Gregory, Hair Grip, 1995

Joy Gregory, Hair Grip, 1995


Flux: Parian Unpacked at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 6 March – 1 July 2018.

Great coverage for Matt Smith’s forthcoming exhibition Flux: Parian unpacked at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 6 March – 1 July 2018. 

Following his critically acclaimed, Arts Council funded Wunderkammer installation at Collect 2017, Matt Smith, winner of the 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, has debuted ‘Wunderkammer II’ at this year’s fair, winning ‘The Object of the Fair Award’.

In this latest project, Smith integrates new subversive and comical forms with white Parian and found ceramics.tim_20180305_null_null_01_4.jpg


Queen’s heads Busts of Queen Victoria against a backdrop of the Bengal famine in Flux: Parian unpacked, at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge from tomorrow.apj_20180305_null_null_01_23-a.jpg


Culture: Queen Victoria parian bust exhibit turns heads

Emma Shaw adjusts parian busts of Queen Victoria at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum against a backdrop of the Bengal Famine in the ‘Flux: Parian unpacked’ contemporary exhibition by artist Matt Smith. Historic parian busts are used to raise moral questions on figures in British history, asking why we celebrate and venerate compromised figureheads. The exhibition highlights abuse of power, race, empire and oppression, immigration, exploitation and overseas aid.



Empire Exhibition

Emma Shaw adjusts parian busts of Queen Victoria against a backdrop of the Bengal Famine in an exhibition by artist Matt Smith which will highlight the abuse of power and the Empire when it opens at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge tomorrow.iii_20180305_null_null_01_10-a


Emma Shaw of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge adjusts parian busts of Queen Victoria against a backdrop of the Bengal Famine in the ‘Flux: Parian unpacked’ exhibition by artist Matt Smith. The show, which opens tomorrow, asks why we celebrate and venerate compromised figureheads.

THE MUSEUM IS NOT NEUTRAL (30th April 2018) – Conference at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Museums are neither neutral nor static – they constantly change and often reflect how society sees itself. The relationship between who we think we are and our objects and heritage is emotional and charged.

Developed to accompany Flux, a newly commissioned exhibition created by Matt Smith in response to the collections at the Fitzwilliam Museum, this study day will explore how cultural organisations are shifting their focus, questioning our histories, and making themselves relevant to a wider public.

Speakers include artist and curator Matt Smith, Richard Sandell, Professor of Museums Studies, University of Leicester; Catrin Jones, curator, The Holburne Museum and Jasleen Kaur, artist.

Booking has opened at https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets/events/museum-not-neutral


After Nyne Magazine Podcast Featuring Lucille Lewin and Collector and Curator Preston Fitzgerald

The latest episode of the After Nyne Magazine podcast, featuring Lucille Lewin and collector/curator Preston Fitzgerald is now live.

After a successful career in fashion, Lucille Lewin hit the headlines last year after winning the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize. Preston talks to Lucille about her career change, her process of creation and much more.

Photography courtesy Cristina Schek. 


Matt Smith Wins ‘The Object of the Fair Award’ at Collect 2018

Delighted to announce that Matt Smith’s ‘Eggheaded Boy’ has been awarded as Collect 2018’s ‘Object of the Fair’

Artwork: Matt Smith, 15 Egg Headed Boy, 2017. From the series ‘Wunderkammer II’


Following his critically acclaimed, Arts Council funded Wunderkammer installation at Collect 2017, Matt Smith, winner of the 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, is debuting ‘Wunderkammer II’ at this year’s fair. In this latest project, Smith integrates new subversive and comical forms with white Parian and found ceramics.

We are delighted to announce Smith’s forthcoming exhibition Flux: Parian unpacked at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 6 March – 1 July 2018.

Matt Smith’s Wunderkammer II installation is now on view at Collect 2018.

22–25 February 2018
The Saatchi Gallery
Stand 6.3

Fair Hours:
Thursday 22 February 12noon – 7pm
Friday 23 February 11am – 9pm
Saturday 24 February 11am – 6pm
Sunday 25 February 11am – 6pm


The Future is Female: After Nyne Meets Cynthia Corbett & Isabelle van Zeijl

For a very special edition of the After Nyne Magazine Podcast, Claire Meadows meets Cynthia Corbett, revolutionary gallerist and founder of the Young Masters Art Prize, and Isabelle van Zeijl a highly commended artist whose work became the face of the 2017 edition of the Prize.

The trio discuss the history of the prize, what life has been like since the last awards ceremony and why all three believe the future is firmly female.

after nyne podcast image


Listen to the podcast here:


Feature Image: Isabelle van Zeijl, Youth, 2016


Crafts Council | 6 Makers To Watch In 2018 – Azita Moradkhani

Crafts Council has identified 6 emerging makers to follow in 2018, including Young Masters Art Prize Winner, Azita Moradkhani.

Iranian artist Azita has background in drawing, painting & sculpture. Whilst growing up in Tehran, Azita was exposed to Persian art and culture as well as Iranian politics. “That double exposure increased my sensitivity to the dynamics of vulnerability and violence that I explore in my work and art-making process” she says. The female body is central to her work and she uses beauty as her weapon to address complex socio-political issues. Her use of traditional techniques, skill and delicacy connect her work aesthetically to the art of the past.

Through the collaborative process of casting her nude body, she places herself in a vulnerable situation that challenges her own belief system. Azita mixes imagery with memories and history to “emphasize both inter- and dis-connections between sexual representation and national identity, between the public and the private”.

In 2017, Azita’s work was chosen from a shortlist of 18 international artists for her delicately crafted drawings and won the Young Masters Art Prize. She was also awarded the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize, an award that supports emerging female artists by gallerist Cynthia Corbett.

Read the full article, written by Sara Khan, here.


Featured Image: Azita Moradkhani, Victorious Secrets (Egg).


LAUNCHING: Young Masters Online Shop

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Young Masters Online Shop. 

Our founding mission to celebrate the lessons of Art History through the art of today has become a reality. To meet the overwhelming success of the Fourth Edition of the Young Masters Art Prize, we are furthering our ambition to make Young Masters art accessible to all! With a growing diversity in artists applying to and participating in the Prize, we feel strongly that wider audiences too should have access to their favourite Young Masters artworks.

Today, we are furthering our reach by going digital! Alongside the Young Masters Art Prize and Young Masters Tour, which brings our Young Masters Winners, Finalists and Alumni to a dynamic programme of international exhibitions and art fairs, we are proud to launch the Young Masters Online Shop.

Following the success of an exceptional curation of Young Masters artists on Artsy, we can now look forward to the Online Shop as one of the many interactive interfaces of the Prize. To discover handpicked artworks from the finest examples of contemporary practices look no further than our Young Masters Online Shop.

Featured image: Christoph Steinmeier, Fleurs du Dystophie, 2013, Pigment print on handmade paper



Mansfield Ceramics | Ceramics Art + Perception | Issue #106


Mansfield Ceramics is the new publisher of Ceramics: Art & Perception. October Issue #106 features Young Masters Shortlisted Artist, Tessa Eastman.

Cynthia Corbett, founder of the Young Masters Art Prize, writes about the initiative and the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in Issue #106.


Images from Mansfield Ceramics Instagram: @mansfieldceramics

Ceramics Art + Perception can be downloaded as an app for mobile use or bought online here.


Featured image: Tessa Eastman, Concealed Cloud (Red Yellow), 2017

Young Masters at Art Miami 2017

Art Miami
5-10 December 2017
1 Herald Plaza,
NE 14th Street, Miami

Booth A100

We are delighted to announce The Cynthia Corbett Gallery will be showcasing a curated selection of Young Master Artists in the 28th Edition of the internationally acclaimed art fair, Art Miami. Participating artists are given the chance to exhibit at the forefront of the international contemporary art scene. The commercial fair attracts an average of 75,000 visitors annually and year upon year, artists gain prestigious new private and public collectors.

2017 marks The Cynthia Corbett Gallery’s ninth consecutive year exhibiting at Art Miami. Art Miami is one of the most important international art fairs in the artworld and it has an extraordinary reputation that resonates with Young Masters global outreach.



Known as Miami’s premier anchor fair, Art Miami kicks off the opening day of Miami Art Week — when thousands of collectors, dealers, curators and artists descend upon Miami. World-famous for its stylish gallery-like decor, its outstanding quality and extraordinary variety, Art Miami showcases the best in modern and contemporary art from 125 international art galleries.

Art Miami maintains a preeminent position in America’s contemporary art fair market. With a rich history, it is the original and longest-running contemporary art fair in Miami and continues to receive praise for the variety of unparalleled art that it offers. It is the “can’t miss” event for all serious collectors, curators, museum directors and interior designers, providing an intimate look at some of the most important work at the forefront of the international contemporary art movement.

Now in its 28th edition, since Art Miami was founded it has formed the nexus of Miami Art Week and its presence and success has catalysed the inception of Art Basel | Miami Beach in addition to a number of renowned Miami “satellite fairs” such as Design Miami, Scope Miami Beach, Pulse Miami Beach, Untitled, and NADA.

art miami


Purchase your tickets here.

For more information visit the Art Miami website.


Featured Image: Isabelle van Zeijl, That is Her, 2015


The Cynthia Corbett Gallery to showcase Young Masters at COLLECT 2018

22–25 February 2018
Press View: 22 February, 10am
The Saatchi Gallery
Stand  6.3

Young Masters is delighted to return to the Saatchi Gallery with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery for COLLECT 2018.  

This February, Young Masters will exhibit with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery at the Saatchi Gallery for the 14th edition of Collect, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is one of 35 international galleries being brought together to celebrate contemporary craft objects, material innovation and new, experimental approaches to making. Collect promises an endless array of objects to fall in love with, and a litany of maker names to add to the ‘ones to watch’ list.

“The contemporary craft sector has never been more dynamic or forward- thinking. In studios and workshops across the world, we are seeing boundaries tested, conventions challenged and new materials capturing the imaginations of makers. To bring so many of the most skilled talents and world-leading galleries from Britain and beyond together under one roof is always a privilege, but to do so at a time when craft is seizing more attention than ever is truly exciting.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 22 – 25 February 2018. 

Purchase your ticket here.

Featured image: Matt Smith, 9 Storks, 2017, Black Porcelain and Found Ceramic.

After Nyne Editor Claire Meadows interviews Azita Moradkhani for the Fashion Issue #17

Combining the personal, private and political with wit, style and elegance, Azita Moradkhani is a worthy winner of two prizes under the banner of the Young Masters Art Prize. The ceremony took place in June at Piccadilly’s exclusive Gallery 8, and Morakhani stunned the room into admiring silence as she received her awards via videolink. After Nyne’s Editor Claire Meadows was present, and interviewed the artist about the past, the present, and a very bright future.

Congratulations on your awards, Azita. A spectacular achievement. What did winning the Young Masters Prize and Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize mean to you?
Thank you so much. Winning the 2017 Young Masters Art Prize and the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize from The Cynthia Corbett Gallery has been an honor for me and I am very grateful for that.

What made you want to apply for the Prize?

The masters are relevant in my work in that I maintain a traditional artistic practice, using representation to comment on the contemporary world. I’m interested in returning beauty and realism to contemporary art, using formality, virtuosity, and delicacy to connect my work aesthetically to art of the past. So, when I heard about the Young Masters Art Prize, I thought it would be a good fit for the kind of projects I’ve been working on.

Your winning work is full of mystery – it’s only when one looks closer that the real detail is revealed. How does this represent your views on the purpose of art?

My drawings of intimate lingerie, “Victorious Secrets,” on paper in colored pencil, use imagery culled from photojournalism and iconography to explore connected narratives of pain and pleasure, using these aesthetics to shift the viewer’s focus to possibility to hope. Yet as they look more closely, past the details of lace and filigree, my disruptive iconography becomes apparent, engaging the inherited histories of nation and belief. I take time to go through the channels of the art world and make my points aesthetically approachable, but aesthetic pleasure is not enough in the world today. I’m not interested in making propaganda, either, but there has to be a conceptual dimension, and I want to challenge viewers to recognize the significance of both of these and how they work together in so many of the images made available to us.

What themes do you always return to in your work?

The female body is central to my work, specifically its exposure to different social norms. It is about displacement as an unnatural state we experience when we find ourselves insecure in our own bodies. My “Victorious Secrets” drawings were based on the impression I got from walking into a Victoria’s Secret store in the U.S. for the first time. Seeing such a large lingerie store in public surprised me, as in Iran such stores were private, secret spaces. The connections and tensions between sexual representation and national identity, between public and private, are themes that I’m working with right now.

Who/what have been your influences?

I’ve been impressed by the way Greer Lankton connects her body’s experiences in her work, resulting in a strong dialogue with the viewer about gender and sexuality. Also, I like Wangechi Mutu’s belief that “females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.” Moreover, I’ve been drawn to the illustrations of Jim Shaw and the way that he challenges different theories about religion, human being, and beliefs.

What are the next steps for you? Maybe a full solo exhibition?

I’ve shown my work in different group and solo exhibitions in the U.S. and outside. I also curated a group exhibition featuring the work of seven Iranian female artists in Boston this past May, which was an amazing experience and a very successful show. I just started a journey to participate in multiple artists’ residencies in the U.S. for nine months, and I am planning to keep traveling for the next two years. So, while I am exposing myself to new environments, I will also keep focusing on my process of making art.

In your view is it ever possible to truly separate the personal from the political in art?

For me, it is difficult to separate them: I come from a country where people are very engaged with social and political issues anyway. So, that could be a reason why I can’t see the political separated from personal matters.

Access the full interview here.Azita Moradkhani - Untitled (Victorious Secrets)

Azita Moradkhani, Untitled (Victorious Secrets), 2016



Young Masters @ London Art Fair 2018

London Art Fair
17 – 21 January 2018
Business Design Centre
52 Upper St, London, N1 0QH

Stand 5

We are delighted to announce that a selection of Young Masters artists will be participating in the forthcoming London Art Fair as the fair celebrates 30 years of operation.

Taking place from 17 – 21 January 2018, London Art Fair is an unmissable opening in the international art calendar.

Following the success of the 2017 Young Masters Art Prize, the Young Masters’ Tour has brought finalists, alumni and guest artists to the historic Royal Over-Seas League, the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery and a handful of the finest international fairs, such as Art Miami 2017 and Collect 2018.

www.londonartfair.co.uk | Purchase your tickets here

Featured image: Liane Lang, Atomised, 2017

Young Masters Tour | 2.0

Welcome to the Young Masters Tour | 2.0 at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery

The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery
5b Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4UY
Exhibition Dates: 2nd – 14th October 2017
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 7pm or by appointment

To view a specially curated selection from the exhibition on Artsy please click here.

Participating artists include finalists from this year’s prizes: Amartey Golding, Antoine Schneck, Azita Moradkhani, David Piddock, John Phillips, Isabelle van Zeijl, Laura Hospes, Liron Kroll, Liane Lang, Sheila Rock, Tamara Al-Mashouk, Yuehan Pan.

Ceramicists: Grant Aston, Irina Razumovskaya, Katie Spragg, Lauren Nauman, Lucille Lewin, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Tessa Eastman.

Young Masters Alumni and Touring Artists include: Adam Mysock, Anne Francoise Couloumy, Amy Douglas, Claire Partington, Eleanor Watson, Fabiano Parisi, Flora Yukhnovich, Jongjin Park, Jo Taylor, Lottie Davies, Mary O’Malley, Matt Smith, Christy Symington, Oliver Jones, Yigal Ozeri.

Young Masters Guest Artists: Andy Burgess, Gordon Cheung, Joy Gregory.

Young Masters has returned to the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery with a group exhibition which runs through London Frieze Week.

Follow the Young Masters:
Instagram @YoungMastersArtPrize
Facebook @YoungMastersArtPrize
Twitter @corbettPROJECTS


W is for Women chosen by Cynthia Corbett


Sisters in step: your art on the theme of women

By , Cynthia Corbett and 

The Guardian, Wednesday 4 October 2017 

1200 (1)

Gillian Hyland, The Forgotten, C-type Print.

This photograph was taken during a shoot last year and was shot outside a 1930s house on the outskirts of London. The young girl is reflected in the vintage car window and it symbolises how children often feel invisible to adults
Artwork: Gillian Hyland/GuardianWitness

1200 (2)

Felicia Simion, Selfie in the park, 2017.

Artwork: Felicia Simion/GuardianWitness


Sadie Hennessy, Freudian Slip

Artwork: Sadie Hennessy/GuardianWitness


Cynthia Corbett, Nwoma, Watercolour.

This is a watercolor sketch of my daughter that I did while she and I were painting on a Sunday afternoon. Artwork: SaigonArt Retreats/GuardianWitness


Kathryne Husk, Eikōn, 2017

The eikōn series is a statement on ‘inspiration porn’ and its dehumanizing effects on disabled women. Artwork: Kathryne Husk/GuardianWitness

1200 (3)Caz Love, Birth of Venus

Site specific installation at Elephant Butte Damsite Winter Arts Colony, New Mexico, 2017, Artwork: Caz Love/GuardianWitness

1200 (4)

Veronica Winters, Rosa Parks’ Dreamer, Oil on panel.

This painting symbolizes the dreamers, generations after Rosa Parks. Artwork: Veronica Winters/GuardianWitness

1200000Shelley Dyer-Gibbins, CinegirlLinocut 4 x colour block original print.

Cinegirl is a strong and iconic image which cannot help but catch your eye
Artwork: Shelley Dyer-Gibbins/GuardianWitness


Read the Full Article here.


Introducing Young Masters Guest Artist Joy Gregory

Young Masters is delighted to introduce Guest Artist Joy Gregory.

One of the major artists to emerge from the Black British photography movement of the 1980s, Joy Gregory (b. 1959, UK) takes a cross-disciplinary approach to her practice and the vehicle of photography.  Her work is concerned with social and political issues with particular reference to history and cultural differences in contemporary society.

Much of Gregory’s photography deals with the physicality of the object, its potency and associations. The series ‘Girl Thing’ (2002-10) deploys the 19th-century cyanotype process, a technique which involves placing her still life objects onto paper painted with light sensitive emulsion. When exposed to light, these objects of cultural and sentimental value are fixed in a deep blue shrouded by a ghostly aura. The process adds a dimension of time and suggests a narrative structure of a different era. ‘Girl Thing’ addresses the power of stereotypical feminine clothing – kitten heels, silk bras and corsets and feminine accessories, such as a delicate handkerchief. These photographs present perceived images of femininity and act as an exploration of gender through female belongings. Gregory states that “this work combines my tendency for collecting objects associated with the female form with my fascination with narrative and history. These seemingly innocuous objects placed within an historical or social context result in surprising and sometimes chilling implications.” In ‘Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels’the shoes are contorted and suggest pieces of meat.

Joy Gregory, Hairgrip

Joy Gregory, Hair Grip, From the series ‘Objects of Beauty’. Kallitype on Paper. 44.5 x 58 cm.

Critical of the pressure the fashion and beauty press place on women to be “young, thin and conventionally beautiful regardless of our natural features”, in 1993 Gregory produced a series of photographs of the objects women use every day to make themselves more attractive. As well as this hairpin, the series ‘Objects of Beauty’ (1992 – 1995) includes a corset, a comb, false eyelashes, curlers, jewellery, stockings and lace knickers. Each object is photographed on its own and printed as a calotype, a photographic process also popular in the 19th-century which is characterised by subtle tonal differences. These formal qualities give the individual objects an iconic status and ironically, they themselves become beautiful in their still life guises. ‘Hair Grip’ was recently used on the cover of a new edition of ‘The Second Sex’ by Simone de Beauvoir.

Joy Gregory is a graduate of Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited all over the world showing in many festivals and biennales. In 2002, Gregory received the NESTA Fellowship, which led to a major piece around language endangerment. The first of this series was the video piece ‘Gomera’, which premiered at the Sydney Biennale in May 2010. Her work is included in many collections including the UK Arts Council Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, and Yale British Art Collection.

Gregory is currently exhibiting at the Diaspora Pavilion for the 57th Venice Biennale alongside artists such as Isaac Julien, Yinka Shonibare, Hew Locke, Barbara Walker and Ellen Gallagher. Her exhibited work, ‘Overlooked and Underreported‘, consists of two components – a textural golden plaque and a figurative image based piece. The Diaspora Pavilion is presented by International Curators Forum (ICF) and University of the Arts London (UAL), and runs from May 13th until November 26th 2017 at the Palazzo Pisani S. Marina. She currently lives and works in London.

Hair Grip and Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels will be on display at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery as part of the exhibition ‘Young Masters Tour 2.0’.

The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery
5b Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4UY
Exhibition Dates: 2nd – 14th October 2017
Opening Hours: daily 11am – 7pm or by appointment
Private View: Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 6 – 9 pm | RSVP essential

Featured Image: Joy Gregory, Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels, 2003, From the series ‘Girl Thing’. Cyanotype on Paper. 63 x 84 cm.


Lluís Barba’s ‘Origin and Consequence’

There is one week left to discover and enjoy “Origin and Consequence’ by Young Masters Alumnus Lluís Barba.

Head to Galeria Contrast, Barcelona to take a look!
June 27, 2017 – September 23, 2017
‘Lluis Barba’s reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, invites the public to reflect on the necessity of tolerance among people and the urgency of developing a common understanding to reach a better social coexistence. It addresses different social issues: the addition of masked women raises questions of gender violence; the ark of Noah present in the last plane gains a contemporary resonance in light of the refugee crisis. Lluís Barba sheds light on a struggling society.’
Lluís Barba, Origin and Consequence. Michelangelo. Sistine Chapel, 2017. Digital printing on canvas, 270 x 750 cm. .


W is for Watson!

As winner of The Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award, Young Masters Alumna Eleanor Watson has spent the last year exploring the life stories of a selection of influential Women in the history of Derbyshire.

‘Dear Reader,’ opens at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on 16 September and continues until 19 November.

‘Responding to the theme of ‘The Changing Faces of People’, her new body of work celebrates the lives of some of the women who have helped to make the county what it is today.

Through her depictions of landscapes, interiors, still lives, and film stills, Eleanor provided us with a different perspective by which to explore the legacy of these extraordinary women.

The Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award brings an emerging artist to Derbyshire to produce a body of new work inspired by the country’s landscape, heritage and people. Eleanor is the winner of the seventh Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award’

W is for Women!
For this month’s project, the Founder and Director of the Cynthia Corbett Gallery and the Young Masters Art Prize invites you to share your art on the theme of women. Deadline 30 September 2017.

Share your artwork now.

Featured Image: Eleanor Watson, Chatsworth, detail, 2017


W is for Women!

For this month’s project, Founder and Director of the The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and Young Masters Art Prize invites you to share your art on the theme of women. Deadline 30 September.

Share an image of your artwork via Guardian Witness by clicking the blue “contribute” button for a chance to be featured on the Guardian’s art and design site.

‘Women have created art throughout history, and yet for over 700 years, art has been a mostly male game. If asked to name the art world greats, most people will cite the names of male artists. We still celebrate the Old Masters – and rightly so, they were undeniably remarkable – yet when we reflect on them in the context of today’s globalised world, we see a group of artists who were overwhelmingly European, white and male, with women and minorities relegated to the status of their subject matter.

With the women’s liberation movement, we came a step towards equality in the arts and in the late 1960s a feminist art movement began to emerge. In the mid-80s, the Guerrilla Girls burst on to the scene fighting against sexual and racial inequality in the arts. And yet here we are in 2017 and the gender balance is still askew.

Her, 2017
 Isabelle van Zeijl, HER, 2017

According to a survey conducted by Washington-based National Museum of Woman in the Arts, works by female artists make up only 3-5% of major permanent collections in the US and Europe. To illustrate this point, here in the UK our sizeable public collections of impressionist paintings only include five works by the celebrated female artist, Berthe Morisot.

Earlier this year I launched a new strand of the Young Masters Art Prize, the contemporary art prize I founded in 2009, to address this inequality and give a platform and voice for a young, female artist. I called it the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize. The response was overwhelming and in the prize entries I noticed that something is bubbling away: it is female artists who are embracing experimentation and the avant garde. They are critically engaging with their position within contemporary society and the history of art.

A young Iranian-born Boston-based artist, Azita Moradkhani has won both of these prizes. Fresh from art school, she creates art that fuses elements of Western art, Iranian identity and modern life. Moradkhani’s delicate drawings of women’s underwear are overlaid with iconography from the works of Michelangelo, Gericault and Monet. Beauty is her weapon to make political points aesthetically approachable, and she calls the viewer to question the authority of male creation over the female body.

Not Too Far Away, coloured pencils, 12x17 inch, 2016
Azita Moradkhani, ‘Not Too Far Away’, coloured pencils, 12×17 inch, 2016

Other examples of ambitious women-focused projects include the recent Soho House acquisition programme: Vault 100 at The Ned in the heart of the City of London, featuring 92 female British artists. There is an exciting new wave of feminism emerging in the art world and it includes artists coming from the Middle East and Iran. Women’s artistic voices are louder than ever with exciting creative ideas.

  • A selection of women artists from the Young Masters Art Prize including previous and current winners will be featured in the Young Masters exhibition at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery London, from 2–14 October, during Frieze week.

How to share your artwork

Share an image of your artwork via GuardianWitness

Featured Image: Lottie Davies, Viola as Twins, 2009


From Haute Couture to Exceptional Portraiture | Isabelle Van Zeijl ‘ICONS’

A collaboration between two remarkable artists  resulted in Isabelle Van Zeijl’s series ICONS. This collection of introspective portraits explores the ancient icons of beauty. Polyhymnia, Venus, Medusa and Victoria are all distinct masquerades created by the harmonious and converging visions of Van Zeijl and renowned Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen. Van Zeijl carefully selected couture designs by Van Herpen from 2011 – 2016 to create a series of poetic and complex images. 

‘Venus,’ the Goddess of Love, is depicted in a medley of rippled fabric reminiscent of the 18th century hairstyles of Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus.’  According to mythology Medusa, the snake haired temptress, had the power to turn onlookers into stone. The symbol of the medusa head was later adopted to connote malevolence. Here, Zeijl incorporates the dark sultry nature of Herpen’s sequence design into her portrayal of the dark female force ‘Medusa.’

(Left) Isabelle van Zeijl, “Polyhymnia,” from the series ICONS, 2017 (Right) Iris Van Herpen, Haute Couture Catwalk Show SS2017. 

(Left) Isabelle Van Zeijl, “Medusa,”, ICONS, 2017. (Right) Team Peter Stigter, 2016. Iris Van Herpen Catwalk Fashion Show Womenswear FW2016.

(Left) Van Zeijl, Isabelle. 2017. “Venus,” ICONS, 2017. (Right) Graveravens. 2016. Iris Van Herpen Haute Couture FW 2016 Collection Presented At Paris Fashion Week

(Left) Isabelle van Zeijl, “Victoria,” ICONS, 2017. (Right) Vogue. 2011. Iris Van Herpen Catwalk | Fall 2011 Couture.

You can find out more about Isabelle van Zeijl’s series ICONS here. 


‘HER’ by Isabelle van Zeijl is currently on display at Young Masters at the Royal Over-Seas League. Isabelle van Zeijl, HER, 

By Phoebe Walsh.

Be Smart About Art Tour | Young Masters Art Prize at the Royal Over-Seas League

Watch one of our partners and sponsors of the Be Smart About Art Prize, Susan Mumford, as she offers a virtual tour of the Young Master exhibition at the Royal Over-seas League.

Susan will be offering a talk at the Young Masters Exhibition in ROSL for emerging to mid-career art world professionals next tuesday. To book your ticket to the evening event hosted by Be Smart About Art, click here.

Date: Aug. 22, 2017, 6:30 p.m. – Aug. 22, 2017, 8:30 p.m. UK time (see time converter)

Location: Royal Over-Seas League | 5 Park Place | St James’s | London SW1A 1LR

Speakers: Susan Mumford

The Young Masters Exhibition at the Royal Over-Seas League is currently open to the public until the show closure on September 8th 2017.


Art and Lingerie: Award-winning Azita Moradkhani Discusses Her ‘Victorious Secrets’


Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 12.08.30.png

By Tara Biglari for Kayhan Life

Azita Moradkhani is an Iranian-born artist whose work draws inspiration from the great art of the past. She recently won the Young Masters Art Prize – awarded by the London-based Cynthia Corbett Gallery to contemporary artists who are inspired by Old Masters.

Azita’s art tastefully fuses elements of Western art, Iranian identity and modern life. She currently has a striking series on display in a group exhibition at the Royal Over-Seas League in St James’s, London (ending September 8). It’s called “Victorious Secrets” and her art is embedded in old-fashioned lingerie.

Kayhan Life caught up with Azita for a conversation about her work.


Where did you grow up, and what is your relationship with Iran?

I was born and raised in Tehran, and from childhood I was surrounded by beautiful, delicate Persian carpets and colorful textile designs in everything from my grandma’s dress to the curtains on the wall. I was also impressed by Persian miniatures, with their colorful details and the art of storytelling through images. And of course having a father who is an artist himself was a huge inspiration for me through[out] my life. I will definitely go back and forth to Iran to visit my family. I would love to experience art residencies in Iran, and possibly teach art in the future – have exhibitions there and be in touch with artists.

When and how did you decide to become an artist?

It’s a very difficult question for me, because there is a point at which you question [yourself] and have doubts and ask yourself ‘why’ and ‘how.’ These questions have continued from my childhood until now. As my father was an artist, I always did drawing and made art on his easel and with a big canvas of paint. Even now that I’m 30, I’m [asking] myself how I can have more impact on the world through the process of making art, through what I have a lot of passion [for].

Your most recent series, ‘Victorious Secrets,’ has as its base drawings of old-fashioned female undergarments. Can you explain why? Isn’t it an unexpected choice of subject coming from a young woman with Iranian origins?

The female body is central to my work – especially exposure to different social norms.
A series of recent drawings is based on my first impression of walking into a Victoria’s Secret store in the U.S. I was surprised to see such a large lingerie store in public, and it made me think about how these stores are such private, secret spaces in Iran. These drawings of lingerie emphasize the connection and tensions between sexual representation and national identity – between private and public.

My drawings of intimate lingerie, ‘Victorious Secrets,’ on paper and in color pencil, explore connected narratives of pain and pleasure through repeated abstract patterns and images based on photojournalism and iconography. I use an aesthetic of pleasure to shift the viewer’s focus to possibility, to hope. Yet when the viewer looks more closely at the lines that make up the drawing in the interior space of the panties, they are brought face to face with shadowy images of violence that signify the vulnerability of victims. The images intertwine in abstract patterns, traumas that repeat themselves.

Has the Young Masters Prize been helpful to you?

It has been an honor for me, and I’m very grateful for that. [In terms of] sales of my work, I have seen much more interest recently. I have been hearing about different collectors more, both in Boston and other cities.

How is your work inspired by art history?

I’m interested in returning beauty and realism to the world of contemporary art. But aesthetic pleasure is not enough. There has to be a conceptual dimension as well, and I want to challenge viewers to recognize the significance of both of these and how they work together.

Many themes from Old Masters’ work emerge in my work. For example, in one of my drawings, I used the nearly touching hands [in the “Creation of Adam“,] the iconic image by Michelangelo [in the Sistine Chapel]. I challenge the story of Adam’s creation as an idealized representation of the physical birth of men. My piece points out the power of women’s bodies to give birth to humankind, even as we [women] are limited in our power to make decisions about our own bodies.

What are your next projects?

One of the projects I’m working on is at the printing workshop: the possibility of transferring drawings onto the actual fabric of the lingerie. Let’s see how it works.

And I’m working on my body casts too. It’s a mix of the patterns of lacy and luxury lingerie on the bodies with images from different resources. It’s like a tattooing of history and memory on the body for me, and it’s all colored pencil on paper clay – meaning a clay based on paper. But let’s see!

#azitamoradkhani #lingerie #art #youngmasters #prizewinner#victoriasecret#victorioussecrets #artwork #undergarments#cynthiacorbettgallery #modernart #persian#iranian #kayhanlife#londongallery


Exclusive Online Summer Exhibition

Young Masters is taking part in The Cynthia Corbett Gallery’s Exclusive Online Summer Exhibition, now live on Artsy ☀️

The show comprises a plethora of Contemporary art in a variety of media, from painting, photography and collage, to ceramics, sculpture and video. Curated around the theme of summer in all possible interpretations, our Summer Exhibition seeks to position the exploration of colour, texture and movement as self-sufficient points of reference and inspiration, and to explore the continuous importance of process in Contemporary art making.

Don’t miss the delicate pencil drawings of Azita Moradkhani, the winner of this year’s Young Masters Art Prize and inaugural Emerging Woman Art Prize, and abstract paintings by Elise Ansel, one of many acclaimed Young Masters Alumni featured in this presentation. Adopting historical painting as their blueprint in order to challenge and subvert art history’s portrayal of women, both these female artists explore the formal qualities of gesture and colour.

Other highlights are the glimmering summer palettes of yellow, gold and fiery orange in the works of Jongjin Park, Stephen Snoddy, Matt Smith and Charlotte Bracegirdle, whose leisurely figure in Flaming June recalls the Californian cool of Andy Burgess’ Pool House.

This exhibition brings together vibrant impressions of nature: while Katie Spragg and Beatriz Elorza evoke details of flora, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen and Asya Reznikov transport the viewer into magical worlds that combine natural with supernatural.

Tom Leighton, Andréa Stanislav and Tony Fitzpartick channel the energy of summer through dynamic and highly personal experimentations with collage, creating dream-like cityscapes, electric portraits and illustrative mind maps.

The season of summer is full of richness, life and vibrance. Whether you’re sipping one of Deborah Azzopardi’s cocktails or basking under Mary O’Malley’s palm tree, The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is bringing the summer to you!

The exhibition runs until the 9th of September.
Featured: Elise Ansel, ‘Infidelity V’, 2015, Oil on Canvas, 12 × 12 in, 30.5 × 30.5 cm.


From self portraits to selfies: contemporary portraiture in London today

Portraiture has always been more than just a record. It has been used to depict beauty, power, virtue, importance, wealth and many other qualities of the sitter. Currently on show in London are two exhibitions exploring what portraiture means today – the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and From Selfie to Self-Expression at Saatchi Gallery.

The BP Portrait Award is an annual competition that aims to represent the best in contemporary portrait painting, with works ranging from intimate studies of friends and family to bold representations of public figures. In an age where photography is arguably the most important and widespread medium for portraiture, the BP Portrait Award is committed to support the tradition of portrait painting by featuring a variety of styles and approaches to the contemporary painted portrait, while referencing portraiture’s centuries old history.

This year’s winning painting by Benjamin Sullivan, titled Breech!, depicts the artist’s wife Virginia breastfeeding their newborn baby. The tenderness of this mundane domestic scene evokes Madonna and Child paintings through the ages, while also putting forward a decidedly contemporary take on the age-old subject of maternal bond.

by Benjamin Sullivan, January 2017
Oil on canvas
820 x 400mm


Like Sullivan, Charles Moxon is a painter engaging with the question of where contemporary portraiture lies in relation to the Old Masters tradition. Moxon was shortlisted and highly commended for the Young Masters Art Prize in 2012. His portrait of MP Harriet Harman was selected for the BP Portrait award in 2016. He was previously shortlisted for the Final 300 in 2012 and 2013. Moxon’s work is grounded in reference to traditional techniques and processes of Dutch 17th century paintings, which he uses to create profoundly direct contemporary portraiture. Set against pitch-black backgrounds, his subjects are depicted in a way that is highly personal yet gracious. Created with painstaking attention to detail, Moxon’s portraits seek to engage with contemporary sitters as they are.


Harriet Harman MP
Charles Moxon
Oil on canvas, 60x45cm, 2015


Sarah in a Stage Curtain
Charles Moxon
Oil on Canvas, 40x30cm, 2015
This work is currently on display at Young Masters Tour exhibition at Royal Overseas League, Park Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LR, until 8 Sep 2017

From Selfie to Self-Expression, currently on at Saatchi, is the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the 16th century to the present day, and celebrating the potential of a form of expression often dismissed for its inanity. The exhibition opens with some of the finest self-portraits ever created by Old and Modern Masters including Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Frieda Kahlo, Warhol. Alongside those highly valuable works are spontaneous selfie portraits by contemporary cultural influencers such as Kim Kardashian and Barack Obama. The exhibition argues that what we think of as a selfie – taking our own picture with our own camera – is not entirely new, nor is it frivolous and inane. ‘The selfie is by far the most expansionist form of visual self-expression’ said gallery chief executive Nigel Hurst. ‘The art world cannot really afford to ignore it.’ Self-portraiture is as relevant as ever, and selfies provide artists with the opportunity to imaginatively and richly explore the notion of what the self might really be.

From Selfie To Self-Expression, Saatchi Gallery – Installation View


Dutch fine art photographer Isabelle Van Zeijl, whose works were Highly Commended for the inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art prize in June 2017, is one of many contemporary artists placing self-portraiture at the core of her practice. Although inevitably individual in their nature, her self-portraits conjure a sense of awareness and ubiquity; her work is driven by the fascination with the female in all its guises and the pursuit of a universal, timeless beauty. Van Zeijl’s self-portraits evoke the work of the Flemish Primitives, Renaissance masters and Golden Age portraitists. During the Renaissance, the focus shifted to the individual, to ‘great’ men, distinguished and virtuous. Van Zeijl co-opts the cult of Renaissance masculine virtuosity by existing in her practice as both object and subject. Digitally composing her photographs like a painter by using techniques of the past, Van Zeijl reaches beyond the self to discover a timeless vision of female beauty, advancing the genre of self-portraiture in her own, distinctly contemporary manner.

Is That Her
Isabelle van Zeijl
2015, C-type print, 96.5 x 100cm (38 x 39.5in.), edition of 7

Laura Hospes is another Young Masters artist whose practice is premised on self-portraiture. Hospes was Highly Commended for the Young Masters Art Prize 2017. Her monochrome, high contrast self-portrait Braid received a great deal of praise. Unlike Van Zeijl, Hospes’s self-portraiture is intensely autobiographical, based on her understanding of the self and her personal battle with mental illness. The resulting image is intense and arresting, confronting the viewer with a direct, heavy gaze of a young woman dealing with depression and anxiety.  Inspired by the magical work of Francesca Woodman, the black and white portraits of Stephan Vanfleteren and the dark lights of Dutch painter Rembrandt she has developed her own visual language and voice.

By Zhiqin Zhang, Emmanuelle Gautier and Masha Ryabova

Young Masters at the Royal Overseas League continues until September 8th. Join us for our Summer Party on September 7th RSVP.

Featured Image: Laura Hospes, Braid, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, Edition of 7 + 2 AP, 60 x 40cm (23.5 x 15.7in.), courtesy Kahmann Gallery




‘It’s just the start of an adventure’: Whistles founder, 69, shares why it’s NEVER too late to reinvent yourself and start a new career

  • Lucille Lewin, 67, reveals how a trip to Hackney convinced her to study ceramics
  • The Whistles founder who is now an award winning potter discussed her empire
  • She spoke to Femail about her recovery from a non-cancerous brain tumour

When Lucille Lewin applied for a Masters degree, her first thought was: ‘Can I really do this?’  ‘I hadn’t actually done a BA before,’ she says. ‘And the elephant in the room was my age.’

A 67-year-old mother of two grown-up sons (‘one’s a doctor, one’s a lawyer’), she’d be some 40 years older than many of the students.

It’s rare to relish starting a new career just as your contemporaries are winding down. And going to art college in your mid-60s is clearly a challenge — from coping with the super-confident, young millennials, to completing mountains of coursework — but the change is particularly shocking if, like Lucille, you once ran a legendary fashion empire.

Lucille, now a tiny, vibrant 69-year-old, says she remains endlessly curious and in fact everything in her life has happened organically

With her husband Richard, Lucille founded Whistles in 1976 and turned it into one of the High Street’s biggest success stories.

Her own designs for the brand were sized for real women, and many of us are still wearing her jewelled knits, embroidered jackets and tailored suits 20 years on.

By the time the couple sold the business in 2002, to business partner Richard Caring, it had 40 stores across the country.

The funny thing is, she admits, none of her twentysomething fellow students knew about her history. ‘All the brownie points I got in fashion were worth absolutely nothing. It was a new world completely.’

Though, she adds, they did Google her half way through the course.

Lucille’s decision to completely reinvent herself eight years ago happened by chance.

‘I walked into an evening class in Hackney, East London, by mistake. A good friend was going, and I wanted to talk to her, so I said: “I’ll drop you off.”

‘I wandered into this little basement studio, where there were a few potters potting, and the smell of the clay hit me. I connected with it at once . . . it’s a very earthy smell.’

She signed up for part-time evening classes, then decided to study ceramics full-time.

Anyone thinking of retraining mid-life, after a career, might take inspiration from Lucille. Now a tiny, vibrant 69-year-old, she remains endlessly curious. In fact, she says everything in her life has happened organically.

She married Richard on her 21st birthday and went to America after he got a place at Harvard Business School.


In 1972, they moved to the UK. Richard had a job with menswear company Burtons and, to her amazement, she landed a job as an assistant to the merchandiser at Harvey Nichols.

‘I only had ripped jeans to wear, so I went out and bought this fabulous suit and a pair of stacked heels for the interview.’ She was later promoted to buyer, but was eventually fired for being too outspoken.

So, in 1976, she decided to open her own shop on George Street in Marylebone. ‘I wanted to occupy the space between designer and High Street.’

She filled the tiny, 250 sq ft shop with black and white clothes — and it sold out.

She believes the sale of Whistles may have been a trigger for one of the most traumatic episodes in her life. In 2009, she was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour known as an acoustic neuroma.

‘The takeover was a very difficult time for me,’ she admits. ‘The company was very much my baby.

‘It was a time of unbelievable, unrelenting shock and stress. I felt powerless, and that was one of the hardest things.’

 It’s art, yes, but also a business. You don’t make ceramics just to sit looking pretty in your garage — you do it to exhibit and sell the work – Lucille Lewin

The tumour was removed during a 12-and-a-half hour operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Afterwards, she felt very weak for three months. She says: ‘I could not shop, cook or care for myself. I was so grateful I had my family around me.’

At first, smiling was impossible and eating was a challenge.

‘Many people retreat because they can’t cope with what’s happened to their faces.

‘You lose the ability to react, you lose your smile.’

Following an intensive rehabilitation programme, her condition is barely visible — except in photographs. Having recovered, she was determined to have more pleasure in her life. She took a two-year part-time diploma in fine art and ceramics at London’s City Lit college (2012–14), after which tutors urged her to apply for a two-year postgraduate degree at the prestigious Royal College of Art.

To her delight, she won a place. As a fashion guru, she had lectured at the Royal College. Now she was a mere student. ‘I’m quite a relaxed person, so I didn’t worry about status, thank goodness,’ she laughs.

Though she says wryly that young people master technology so much better, she made friends for life on the course.

At a time when the number of part-time and mature students has dropped significantly, because people are worried about running up debt, she’s keen to stress it’s not an indulgence.

 It’s exciting. I’ve got so many things I still want to say. And I think it’s just the start of this adventure – Lucille Lewin

The course cost £9,000 a year, but by selling her work, she can recoup the cost.

‘It’s art, yes, but also a business. You don’t make ceramics just to sit looking pretty in your garage — you do it to exhibit and sell the work.’

In fact, Lewin has more than held her own alongside her classmates. In June, she won the £1,500 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, after completing her MA in ceramics and glass.

The irony of being declared a ‘young master’ at the age of 69 isn’t lost on her. Since she won the prize, pretty much all of her exquisite white porcelain sculptures have sold. Now she’s preparing for an exhibition in November. Husband Richard grumbles good-naturedly that they can’t go on holiday.

‘I don’t blame him, I should be calming down a little bit,’ smiles Lucille. ‘But it’s exciting. I’ve got so many things I still want to say. And I think it’s just the start of this adventure.’

Lucille’s work is on show at The Cynthia Corbett Gallery / Young Masters Art Prize at the Royal Overseas League until September 8, young-masters.co.uk, lucillelewin.com


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4744632/Whistles-founder-69-starting-second-career.html#ixzz4oQXq1rnW


Young Masters Prize Giving Ceremony @ Gallery 8

Prize Giving Ceremony, on June 21st @ Gallery 8

On June 21st, Artists, Judges, Patrons, friends and family gathered at the Young Masters Art Prize Exhibition at Gallery 8 for the prize giving ceremony. Cynthia Corbett opened the ceremony by introducing the 2017 Young Masters and warmly thanked all those that helped the vision become a reality.

The chair of the judging panel Godfrey Barker announced the winner of the 2017 Young Masters Art Prize, Azita Moradkhani. Laura Hospes and Tamara Al-Mashouk were announced as Highly Commended artist for the Young Masters Art Prize. In his speech Godfrey discussed the importance of the Old Masters in the art world today.


Iranian artist Azita Moradkhani was announced as the winner of the Young Masters Art Prize and inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize, both generously supported by Dr. Chris Blatchley. Moradkhani was chosen from a shortlist of 18 international artists for her delicately crafted drawings. The female body is central to her work and she uses beauty as her weapon to address complex socio-political issues. Her use of traditional techniques, skill and delicacy connect her work aesthetically to the art of the past.

Azita Moradkhani’s delivered an acceptance speech from afar:


Dr. Chris Blatchley, Patron of The Young Masters Art Prize and The Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize, announced Isabelle van Zeijl and Katie Spragg as the two artists Highly Commended for the Emerging Woman Art Prize.


Lucille Lewin was announced by James Grand as the winner of the £1,500 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, which is supported by patron, collector and philanthropist Maylis Grand. Lauren Nauman was announced as Highly Commended for Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize.


Last but not least,  Katie Spragg was declared the winner of the Be Smart About Art award by Susan Mumford, the Founder of Be Smart About Art and Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD).


See full details of our 2017 winners and prizes here.

Exhibition dates: 19 – 24 June
Location: Gallery 8
8 Duke Street St James’s, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BN

Prize Giving Ceremony:
21st June, 2017


Young Masters Tour Exhibition @ Royal Over-Seas League


The Young Masters Tour Exhibition at Royal Over-Seas League celebrates artists who pay homage to the skill and traditions of the past. The not-for-profit ethos of the Young Masters Art Prize aligns with ROSLarts which also aims to support emerging talent and offers opportunities early into the careers of international, young creatives. Many entrants of the prize, past and present exhibit and boast variety in medium and subject as well as artists varying in age and experience.

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League

Sitting alongside these works is the work of more established talent represented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and exhibited internationally, further adding to the diversity of the work on the show. The exhibition offers new works of contemporary art that take inspiration from the past, displayed in the grand setting of the historic clubhouse that is open to all visitors to come and enjoy.

Exhibiting Artists:

Grant Aston | Lluís Barba | Sasha Bowles | Elisabeth Caren | Anne Francoise Couloumy | Lottie Davies | Tessa Eastman | Beatriz Elorza | Michal Fargo | Carole Freeman | Amartey Golding | Liron Kroll | Liane Lang | Sandro Miller | Azita Moradkhani | Charlie Moxon | Lauren Nauman | Mary O’Malley | Yigal Ozeri | Fabiano Parisi | John Phillips | David Piddock | Lars Reiffers | Sheila Rock | Red Saunders | Antoine Schneck | Stephen Snoddy | Christoph Steinmeyer | Eleanor Watson | Isabelle van Zeijl

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League v

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League iii

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League ii

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League i

Godfrey Barker and Cynthia Corbett

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League vi

Young Masters at Royal Over-Seas League xi

Young Masters: Talks | Unpacking Gender in the Contemporary Art World

Young Masters presented a panel discussion at the Royal Over-Seas League on Sunday 2nd July from 2 – 1.30pm. The talk was held in association with Mayfair Art Weekend. Click the link above for video and details.

Exhibition Location: Royal Overseas LeagueOver-Sea House, Park Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1LR

Exhibition runs: 28 June – 8 September 2017

Private View: Thursday 29 June, 6-8 pm

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11am-5.30pm & weekends by appointment


Young Masters Art Prize Exhibition @ Gallery 8, Duke Street

Introduction by Cynthia Corbett, Founder and Director of the Young Masters Art Prize

“The Young Masters Art Prize was founded in 2009 because I felt at the time it was important to not only nurture young artistic talent but to reflect upon the past in these uncertain economic and political times. Eight years later, this endeavour is even more crucial.


Our 2017 edition has proved to be the most successful Young Masters to date. The call for entries was answered by over 775 artists, by far a record! With the assistance of the dedicated team of judges and staff, we selected 18 artists and 10 ceramicists to exhibit their work in London, showcasing this incredible shortlist in the heart of London’s prestigious art district St James’s. This selection is extremely diverse; the artists come from the UK, Europe, USA, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The youngest artist is 24 and the oldest was born in 1948. A Young Master does not have to be of a young chronological age, and the initiative supports any artist, regardless of age, gender or nationality, providing they have the talent and the relationship with the past in their work. This means that Young Masters is unique.”

Young Masters Art Prize 2017 Exhibition Film

Music & Sound design by Edwin Hind / Concrete and Green. Video by Agnese Gutovska

Young Masters Art Prize Shortlist:

Amartey Golding | Antoine Schneck | Asya Reznikov | Azita MoradkhaniCarole FreemanDavid Piddock Isabelle van Zeijl | John PhillipsLars Reiffers | Laura Hospes | Liane LangLiron Kroll Lucy Beecher Nelson | Sasha Bowles Sheila Rock | Stephen Snoddy | Tamara Al Mashouk Yuehan Pan |

The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize Shortlist:
Amber Zuber, Andrew CastoAntonie EikemansGrant AstonIrina Razumovskaya, Katie Spragg, Lauren Nauman, Lucille Lewin, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Tessa Eastman.

Guest Artist: Gordon Cheung


Dates: 19 – 24 June
Gallery 8
8 Duke Street, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BN
Private View: Tuesday 20 June, 6.30 – 9.30pm
Prize Giving: Wednesday 21 June, 6.30 – 9pm

Supported by: Art Installation Services, Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), The Artist’s Collecting Society, Brownhill, Chris Blatchley, James and Maylis Grand, G4SI Logistics, Lamport Gilbert Ltd.


Young Masters: Talks | Unpacking Gender in the Contemporary Art World – Video

To coincide with the inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize we presented a talk to celebrate and discuss gender issues around art. The panel discussion was moderated by Susan Mumford, Founder, Association of Woman Art Dealers, and included Jean Wainwright, Art Historian, Critic and Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at the University for the Creative Arts, Marine Tanguy, CEO MTART, Catherine Loewe, London-based curator and consultant and Cynthia Corbett, Gallerist and Founder of The Young Masters Art Prize.


Young Masters: Talks includes discussions hosted by speakers from:  Be Smart About Art, offering specialist, advice and support for artists and industry professionals; and Artists’ Collecting Society, the premium collecting society for the administration of the Artist’s Resale Right (ARR).


Discussions are led by Young Masters Art Prize Judges, including: Jean Wainwright, Art Historian, Critic and Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at the University for the Creative Arts; and Melanie Gerlis, Art Market Columnist at the Financial Times and Editor-at-large at The Art Newspaper.

Where & When:
Royal Over-Seas League
Park Place
United Kingdom

Sunday, 2 July 2017 from 14:00 to 15:00 (BST)

Video and Photography Courtesy Cristina Schek


Young Masters @ Market Art+Design, New York

Market Art + Design by Art Market Productions, the East End’s premier modern and contemporary art fair,  returned to Bridgehampton for its 7th year. The Art Fair was set just off Montauk Highway at the The Bridgehampton Museum, New York.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery exhibited in Booth 509 and presented work by Young Masters Alumni Lluis Barba, finalist of the 2009 edition, and Zemer Peled, Highly Commended for the inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014. Their work was exhibited alongside art by Gallery Artists Deborah Azzopardi, Andy Burgess, Tom Leighton, Mary O’Malley and Klari Reis.

The display featured a special focus on pop artist Deborah Azzopardi. While her colours serve as the initial bait to gain the viewer’s attention, it is her subject matter that hooks you and keeps you captivated. In “Saturday Night” 2004, lipstick is seductively applied, while elsewhere toned bodies remove items of clothing and long female legs dangle from a red convertible. These works are provocatively flirtatious, highlighted by playful titles such as “Beach Party” and “Happy Birthday”. Millions of people across the world are familiar with her artworks, her works have been published internationally and there is an incredible demand for her Original Paintings.

The unique synthesis of biology and creativity was on offer in Klari Reis’ installation work of hand painted, wall mounted Petri dishes. Also on view were the clear lines, bold geometric design and dynamic forms of buildings painted by Andy Burgess.


LLuis Barba and Klari Reis Installation Shot Art Market Design


To coincide with Tate Britain’s exhibition of one of the most popular and influential British artists of the twentieth century, The Cynthia Corbett Gallery also offered visitors ‘David Hockney. A Bigger Book’. 

Israeli ceramicist Zemer Peled is the first ever Fondation Bernardaud, Limoges Porcelain, Artist in Residence. Peled is currently participating in C’est le bouquet!, a group exhibition which features 17 international ceramicists whose creations are inspired by floral themes. The exhibition runs 23 June 2017 – 24 February 2018.


Andrew Burgess, Zemer Peled, Mary O'Malley Installation Shot Art and Design


July 6 – 9, 2017
The Bridgehampton Museum – 2368 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, NY

Young Masters 2017 Winners Announced

Iranian artist Azita Moradkhani has been announced as the winner of the Young Masters Art Prize and inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize, both generously supported by Dr Chris Blatchley. She was presented with her combined £3,000 prize at an award ceremony sponsored by Brownhill Insurance held this evening, Wednesday 21 June 2017, at Gallery 8 in London’s St James’s.

Moradkhani was chosen from a shortlist of 18 international artists for her delicately crafted drawings. The female body is central to her work and she uses beauty as her weapon to address complex socio-political issues. Her use of traditional techniques, skill and delicacy connect her work aesthetically to the art of the past.

Chair of the judges, art historian Godfrey Barker, comments: ‘The Young Masters Art Prize is a snapshot of contemporary art now. It had a huge number of entries from 55 countries, a vast majority of those from young or emerging artists. Two things we have never seen before: the prize has been overwhelmed by women (two thirds of the entries) and all nine of the awards have been given to women. Clearly this prize is now at the cutting edge, with an international emphasis that includes North America, Africa, the Middle East and the Islamic world.’

Cynthia Corbett comments: ‘We’re extremely excited about this year’s prize and winners. The additional strand of an emerging women’s prize has led to overwhelming interest from international female artists. The astounding quality of female applicants has meant that the judges have bestowed all the awards to women. I hope we can now look forward to a future of artistic meritocracy.’

5. Laura Hospes, Braid
Laura Hospes, Braid, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, Edition of 7 + 2 AP, 60 x 40cm (23.5 x 15.7in.). Courtesy Kahmann Gallery.

Two Highly Commended Prizes of £500 courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) were awarded to Laura Hospes and Tamara Al-Mashouk and a new ‘Be Smart About Art’ award worth £500 was awarded to Katie Spragg.

The judges were Godfrey Barker, Melanie Gerlis, Art Market Columnist at the Financial Times and Editor-at-large at The Art Newspaper; Daisy McMullan, Curator; Hannah Rothschild, writer, filmmaker and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery, London; Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts and Jean Wainwright, Art Historian, Critic and Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at the University for the Creative Arts.

Tamara Al-Mashouk, License on Fire
Tamara Al-Mashouk, License, 2017, Video Installation, 6′ 18”, Sound, Edition of 3

Lucille Lewin has been announced as the winner of the £1,500 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, which is supported by collector and philanthropist Maylis Grand. This strand of the Young Masters Art Prize was launched in 2014 to give a separate platform for ceramics and highlight the creative and innovative potential of this artistic medium. She was chosen from 10 shortlisted artists for her work that the judges described as ‘completely original’.

Lucille Lewin, Winner Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2017.jpg
Lucille Lewin, Winner of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2017
Lucille Lewin Babel 2017
Lucille Lewin, Babel, 2017, Porcelain and Glass, 39 x 21 x 22 cm (15 3/8 x 8 1/4 x 8 5/8 in.)

The judges, Janice Blackburn, former Curator of Arts and Crafts at Sotheby’s; collector Preston Fitzgerald; collector and philanthropist, Maylis Grand and the Crafts Council’s Daniella Wells, continued: ‘We were looking for originality and a strong voice and we were in total harmony about our choice of winner. Lucille’s work is experimental, beautifully made and totally original; this is work with a future.’

Lucille Lewin’s work is the result of research into the origins into 18th century European porcelain and the alchemists who invented it. Her pieces, which combine porcelain with other media including glass and salt crystals, reference the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities and the early microscopic photographs of the natural world by Karl Blosfeldt. A £500 Highly Commended Prize was awarded to Lauren Nauman.

Lauren Nauman, Highly Commended Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize
Lauren Nauman, Highly Commended for the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2017, pictured with Maylis & James Grand.

The inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize was introduced this year to profile and reward the work of an emerging female artist. In addition to the main prize given to Azita Moradkhani, two Highly Commended Prizes of £250 were awarded to Isabelle van Zeijl and Katie Spragg.

2. Azita Moradkhani, Becoming, colored pencils, 12x16 IN, 2016 (1)
Azita Moradkhani, Becoming (Victorious Secrets), 2016, Coloured Pencils on Paper, 30.5 x 40.6 cm, (12 1/8 x 16 in.). Courtesy Gallery Kayafas.
Isabelle van Zeijl, HER, 2017, Perspex face mounted C-print on dibond in tray frame, 110 x 100 cm (43 1/4 x 39 3/8 in.)
Highly Commended Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize Isabelle Van Zeijl with Judges Charles Saumarez Smith and Godfrey Barker
Isabelle van Zeijl, Highly Commended for the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize 2017, pictured with Young Masters Judges Charles Saumarez Smith CBE and Godfrey Barker. Photography courtesy Cristina Schek.
Katie Spragg, Meadow, 2017. Porcelain, Oak, Plastic, Switch, Battery-powered LEDs
22 x 30 x 22 cm.

The Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize judges were Beth Colocci, Chair of the Trustees of UK Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Sylvie Gormezano, Chair of the Association of Women Art Dealers; award-winning designer and art collector Ronnette Riley, FAIA and Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Executive Board, Head of Corporate Branding and Communications and Chairperson of the Swarovski Foundation.

Young Masters Art Prize winners:
Azita Moradkhani, £2,000 main prize, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley
Laura Hospes, £500 Highly Commended courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society
Tamara Al-Mashouk, £500 Highly Commended courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society
Katie Spragg, Be Smart About Art Award worth £500

Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize winners:
Lucille Lewin, £1,500 main prize, thanks to Maylis Grand
Lauren Nauman, £500 Highly Commended, thanks to Maylis Grand

Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize winners:
Azita Moradkhani, £1,000 main prize thanks, to Dr Chris Blatchley
Isabelle van Zeijl, £250 Highly Commended, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley
Katie Spragg, £250 Highly Commended, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley

Young Masters Art Prize Shortlist Exhibition at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BN.

Exhibition runs until 24 June 2017

Public opening times: 11am to 7pm daily (or by appointment)
Nearest tubes: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus (St. James’s exit)

Featured Image: Azita Moradkhani, Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets), 2016, Coloured Pencils on Paper, 30.5 x 43.2 cm, (12 1/8 x 17 1/8 in). Courtesy Gallery Kayafas.


Young Masters : Talks | Artists’ Collecting Society – A Practical Guide to Copyright by Julia Smith

As part of Young Masters: Talks programme, we were delighted to host a talk by Julia Smith of Artists’ Collecting Society at the Young Masters Shortlist Exhibition, Gallery 8, Duke Street. The talk comprised a practical guide that covered the Artist’s Resale Right, copyright and licensing. It was presented with burgeoning artists in mind and was attended by several finalists of the fourth edition of the Young Masters Art Prize.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 14.29.15

Julia Smith is Art Sales Researcher at the Artists’ Collecting Society, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that administers intellectual property rights such as Artist’s Resale Right and copyright royalties on behalf of over 1,000 visual artists. She joined the team in 2014. Julia studied History and Philosophy of Art with a focus on aesthetics and the contemporary arts. She has a background in research for publicity and antiques based projects, with several years’ experience as a visual arts writer.

Location: Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BN

Date: Tuesday, 20 June 2017, 5-6.15pm

Presented by: Julia Smith.

The Artists’ Collecting Society provide key information on their website.


Young Masters 2017 Be Smart About Art Award

Be Smart
Young Masters Art Prize 2017 Be Smart About Art Award
Sponsored by Be Smart About Art

Be Smart About Art is delighted to offer this Award to help one winning artist build an outstanding art career. More than five years into running our professional development programme, we understand that each artist’s situation is different. Accordingly, the YM – BSAA Award presents three award package options – each with a differing adviser, to enable the successful recipient to select the professional support package of his/her choice.

To get started: The winner will be invited to have a 20 – minute conversation with a BSAA Team Member. During this call, the artist will gain a better understanding of career support available, and similarly, the dialogue will position the BSAA Team Member to provide recommendations to help the winner make the most of the opportunity.

*Not shortlisted for the Young Masters Competition 2017? Don’t worry! You can still join the BSAA community by signing up for the Sunday Reading Blog. We’re giving away a complimentary download of the BSAA e-book, HACKING THE ARTWORLD.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Learn about the global BSAA membership community.

The winner of the Young Masters Art Prize 2017 Be Smart About Art Award will be announced Wednesday 21st June 2017.

Featured Image: Fabiano Parisi, Il Mondo Che Non Vedo, No 201 – Italy, 2016, C-Type photograph, 75 x 100 cm.


Contesting the Canon

All art is made with reference to that which precedes it. The Young Masters Art Prize seeks to unpack this tendency, celebrating contemporary artists who place this referential process at the centre of their practice. The phrase ‘Old Masters’ describes the premodern figureheads of the arthistorical canon. While the Old Masters were undeniably remarkable, in today’s globalised world the canon is reflected on as overbearingly European, white and male. In contrast to this legacy, this Young Masters shortlist is the most diverse yet, featuring more women than men, and artists selected from all around the world. Whereas women and minorities were historically relegated to the status of Old Master subject matter, for example Ingres’s odalisques, bathers and concubines, Young Masters proves that today, the tables have turned.

Liane Lang, Lucy in Sunlight, 2015, C-Type Photographic Print, 50 x 40 cm. Edition of 10.

This shortlist features female artists who critically engage with their position within the history of art. Iranian artist Azita Moradkhani’s delicate drawings of women’s underwear are symptomatic of such efforts to rewrite the canon. By inscribing iconography from the works of Michelangelo, Gericault and Monet onto lingerie, Moradkhani calls us to question the authority of male creation over the female body. We also find feminist resonances in Liane Lang’s series of staged photographs; lifelike dolls masquerade as female Catholic saints and martyrs, occupying buildings designed by Gothic architect Augustus Pugin. Dutch photographers Isabelle van Zeijl and Laura Hospes place their own bodies at the centre. The forcefulness of Hospes’s black and white self-portraits lies in her Rembrandtesque manipulation of light and shadow. Van Zeijl announces herself as author and muse, subsequently readdressing the intrinsically gendered subject-object relations which typify the genre of portraiture. Assuming the painterly lexicon of The Dutch Golden Age, van Zeijl claims the camera and Photoshop as her tools to cast aspersions over the notion of “timeless beauty”.

Isabelle van Zeijl, HER, 2017, C-print, 110 x 100.1 cm. Edition of 7.

Van Zeijl stands alongside other artists in this exhibition for whom the traditional canvas is an outmoded terrain for expression. These artists deploy advanced technologies while looking to the past for inspiration. Russian-American multi-media artist Asya Reznikov’s framed television screen animation Be Fruitful transforms Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve of 1526 into a witty commentary on the rebirth of painting. Reznikov trades in the perspectival trickery of Albertian perspective for animated zooms, and comically undermines the fixity of Biblical narratives by depicting her own baby daughter emerging from the fallen fruit. Israeli artist Liron Kroll also masters contemporary image-making technologies. Kroll uses digital layering techniques to create composite worlds with no clear anchor in time or space. With domesticity and the family as central themes, Kroll does away with the sense of devotion equated with da Vinci and Parmigianino’s Madonna and child portraits, to produce surreal scenes of reverie and estrangement.

Also exploiting the tension between subject and media, British artist John Phillips splices over 1,400 separate photographs together to create contemporary echoes of Dutch vanitas painting. Parallels can be drawn between Phillips’s studies and the Baroque still lifes of Jan Davidsz de Heem, in which flowers are a powerful expression of the impending slippage from life to death. Where Phillips’s images simulate painting, German painter Lars Reiffers uses the camera as a tool to interrogate natural forms, before bringing them to life in paint. Such a strategic representational process produces a virtuosic realism with a lineage all the way back to Giotto. Distorted by scale and colour, in Reiffers’ paintings individual petals are rendered monstrous and blindingly opulent.

Antoine Schneck, Mariam Diallo, 2012, Pigment print, 107 x 80 cm. Edition of 8.

Channelling renaissance chiaroscuro, French photographer Antoine Schneck dramatically offsets brightly lit hyperrealist faces, recumbent figures and suits of armour against stark black backgrounds. Not only is Schneck’s technical facility characteristic of the 21st century artist, featuring panoramic editing, multi-angle shooting and graphic palette retouching, his representations of African subjects are emphatically contemporary in that they are a far cry from the exoticizing tendencies of a colonial past. The criticism of colonial history also arises in Ghanaian-British multi-media artist Amartey Golding’s 15 minute film Chainmail. In this case, art-historical allusions lay beneath the surface. As cerebral as it is beautiful, Chainmail evokes Degas’s avant-garde approach to the ballet dancer, blurring the lines of performance, endurance and enslavement. Chinese painter Yuehan Pan investigates eastern and western representational practices, substituting the picture frame, with its western properties of spatial hierarchisation, for fine silk scrolls influenced by the ancient philosophy of ‘San Cai’.

Video-artist Tamara Al-Mashouk takes her own subjectivity as a queer Saudi Arabian woman living abroad as the starting point for her single-channel film . An architectural monument is burned to the ground amid heavy rainfall; an iconoclastic gesture which captures perfectly the contemporary instability of racialized histories. Iconoclasm is another common thread woven through this shortlist. British artist Sasha Bowles manipulates reproductions of well-known paintings by Masters such as Goya, Gainsborough, Frans Hals and Velázquez, giving male sitters new and absurd guises which sacrifice individual personas in the face of the artist’s own authorial signature. Sheila Rock’s photographic series The Spirit of the Horse is directly inspired by the great European horse painters: Stubbs, Delacroix, Gericault, Herring, and Franz Marc. Her black and white silver gelatin prints are not only indicative of her sophisticated command over the medium, but reflect a unique pictorial aesthetic, carved out within the context of a highly developed and mature genre.

David Piddock, Samson at Queenhithe, 2016, Oil on Gesso Board, 121 x 100 x 4 cm.

In David Piddock’s landscape paintings, imagery is sourced from the past to inform the present. Monumental marble sculptures materialise in unexpected places: we see Giambologna’s Samson Slaying a Philistine bathed in light on the bank of the River Thames. Whereas Piddock’s scenes are often devoid of human presence, Canadian painter Carole Freeman makes clear the indebtedness of art to people. Taking her cue from iconic Old Master portraits, Freeman depicts contemporary artworld professionals in the style of Bronzio, Vigée Le Brun and Van Der Weyden.

American painter Lucy Beecher Nelson appropriates the formal devices of 15th century Italian marriage portraits to express relationship dynamics between present day couples. While Beecher Nelson uses the divisional form of the diptych to communicate emotional disconnection, British painter Stephen Snoddy creates diptych compositions founded on unity. Snoddy takes the window as a point of departure, a loaded art-historical motif with foundations in Renaissance naturalism; the ultimate task of painting as a “window” onto the world. Yet his work stands apart from this representational tradition, operating within the realm of the abstract. His colourful canvases are defined by clear continuations in line and form.

Stephen Snoddy, 105a
Stephen Snoddy, Untitled 105 (after Matisse), 2015, Mixed Media, 46.6 x 66.6 cm.

The eighteen artists showcased in this shortlist are significantly diverse, proving that the desire to blend the art of today with the art of the past has a global and cross-generational significance. As ever, the skills and art of the Old Masters are direct sources of inspiration. Whether these artists appropriate imagery, assimilate styles, or intervene in seemingly “closed” genres, they do so with critical intention. They honour and renegotiate their sources to produce art which is strikingly original and contemporary. While technological developments offer innovative new methods of image making, traditional media prove to be equally fruitful. More than ever, this year’s shortlist represents artists who engage with identity politics; personal histories are divulged to address wider issues of collective and universal importance. By mining the art of the past, the contemporary artist can rewrite history. The art-historical canon is but one history open for contestation.

By Millie Print, Co-ordinator and Curatorial Associate

Featured Image: Amartey Golding, Chainmail (08.16), film still, 2016.