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 | Charlie Moxon | Lauren Nauman | Mary O’Malley | 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.