A former lawyer, a renowned glassmaker, a community artist and an ex-builders labourer have all been shortlisted for this years Aspect Prize
, the premier award for Scottish artists, and one of the UKs largest independently funded art prizes.
Patricia Cain, Alec Galloway, Paul Kennedy and Scot Sinclair all received £5000 at the opening of annual The Aspect Prize exhibition in Paisley Museum and Art Gallery on Friday night (June 19 2009).
All four artists will now work towards an exhibition in January 2010 to be held for the first time in the prizes seven-year history in the London gallery run by The Fleming Collection, owners of one of the worlds finest Scottish art collections.
The overall winner will be announced at the opening of this exhibition in the New Year, when he or she will receive an additional £10,000. A painting by the winning artist will be selected for inclusion in The Fleming Collections permanent collection.
Announcing the shortlist, Aspect Prize chairman and co-founder, Charles Jamieson said: Its always exciting to see what comes through the door when we come to judge the prize. This year, we had 157 entries and the panel did a fine job in selecting some excellent work. The judging process was particularly hard as some very painterly work did not make it to the final four.
The prize is all about promoting Scottish art, which is why we try to show everything that has come in at this exhibition in Paisley, not just the work of the four winning artists.
This year also marks a new association with The Fleming Collection. Were delighted The Fleming Collection is on board for this years prize, says Jamieson. Not only does it have a pre-eminent collection of Scottish art, it has a wonderful centrally located gallery in London, which is quite different from the commercial gallery spaces in which we have exhibited in previous years. Its a fantastic opportunity for all concerned.
THE WINNING ARTISTS
PATRICIA CAIN, 46, Glasgow
Winning piece: Inscape 3
Although she attended St Martins College of Art in London for a year in the mid 1980s, Newcastle-born Patricia Cain, trained as a solicitor, and ended up running her own legal practice in Carlisle specialising in medical negligence and personal injury work. She moved to Glasgow in 2001 and although qualified to practise law in Scotland, she has been working as an artist for the last five years.
Last year, Cain was awarded a doctorate by Glasgow School of Art for her practical and written analysis of how drawing helps our understanding of the world around us.
Her recent work focuses on the development along the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow, including the New Riverside Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid.
She lives with her husband, the artist Sam Cartman and her two children, in the west end of Glasgow.
Charles Jamieson comments: Patricia Cains complex and studied drawings and paintings of building projects which often focus on the patterns and structure of scaffolding are assured and remarkable pieces of work. Her love of the draughtsmanship of the late Sir Muirhead Bone can be seen in the attention she gives to both the composition and the detail in each work.
ALEC GALLOWAY, 44, Skelmorlie, Inverclyde
Winning piece: 'Migration of Songs'
Widely known for skill as a stained glass artist, Greenock-born Alec Galloway has recently been making a name for himself as a painter.
Galloways glasswork is in many prominent public buildings around the world. In Dubai, where he was based for three years in the late 1990s, his work can be seen all around the famous Burj Al Arab (the tallest hotel in the world).
In 2005, he established the Watersongs project in Greenock, a public arts initiative aiming to incorporate art into the regeneration of the towns waterfront.
He is head of Architectural Glass at Edinburgh College of Art, where he studied himself, from 1992-1995. He now lives in Skelmorlie with his wife and three children.
Charles Jamieson comments: Alec Galloway is unafraid to throw a bit of everything into the mix in his layered collage paintings. For many artists this would be a recipe for disaster but there is a boldness and eagerness to experiment as well as a purpose in the stories he tells on board and canvas.
He is focused and able to edit his marks in a way that allows them to be true to the subject in hand.
PAUL KENNEDY, 27, Glasgow
Winning piece: 'Springburn Hopes'
Through his work in community-based arts projects, Paul Kennedy has been involved with communities in Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire and Ayrshire.
This experience has fed into his work in a positive way. Recently, while working at The Red Road flats in Springburn, he found himself in Springburn Park, staring at the once-grand ruin of the Winter Gardens. His winning portrait, Springburn Hopes (of his young cousin Jamie), was inspired by the sense of nostalgia and sadness invoked by seeing this place. It is a reflection of how we Glaswegians keep going no matter what, he explains.
Kennedy is from the Broomhill area of Glasgow and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 2000 to 2004.
Charles Jamieson comments: Paul Kennedy has been painting for some years, constantly exploring and pushing his thoughts and capabilities. The work he is doing now shows how much he has progressed in recent years.
There is a maturity in the imagery and in the technical application of line and paint. There are resonances of last centurys war artists coming through like Bawden and Ravilious. His newfound confidence is reflected in the expensive frames he is now selecting which set off the work perfectly.
SCOT SINCLAIR, 42, Lafayette, Louisiana
Winning piece: 'Bombo'
Scot Sinclair has travelled a long way since growing up in a tower block in Johnstone, Renfrewshire in the 1960s and 70s. After more than a decade spent working in building sites and factories, he finally realised his dream of going to art school by studying at Grays School of Art in Aberdeen from 1997-2001.
Since then, he has lived in the United States, firstly in Illinois, where he gained a Master of Fine Arts degree, moving on to teaching positions at the University of Missouri and the University of Louisiana, where he is currently an assistant professor teaching figure drawing.
In his winning piece, Bombo (from a series of work in which he has used imagery from North Korean and American military parades) he has used high gloss house paint applied over several layers.
Charles Jamieson comments: Scot Sinclair is one of that army of Scots who have left old Scotias shores to take on the challenges of the world and with it to express himself in a new and exciting way. His use of new types of paint technology fused with a vision of an overcrowded world have created a series of seemingly abstract works which communicate with their audience on a number of levels. Living and working in Lafayette, Louisiana, Scot has severed himself from many of the accepted forms of visual communication so often served up in his homeland in order to make new works which refresh all our visual palettes.