A new exhibition of work by four artists, each competing for £16,500 prize money and the title of sixth Northern Art Prize winner, features new and specially reconfigured work by shortlisted artists Margaret Harrison, Rosalind Nashashibi, Emily Speed and Joanne Tatham & Tom OSullivan.
The exhibition this year takes a new spring slot in the programme at Leeds Art Gallery
, which has given the artists more time to work with Sarah Brown, Curator of Exhibitions at the gallery and chair of the Prize judging panel, to rework existing pieces and create new work. Sarah Brown commented:
The artists have made a number of new pieces especially for the show which gives this years Northern Art Prize exhibition an immediate sense of the artists current practice which is great for the artists, judges and audiences. Each artist also has responded to the main ground floor galleries where the exhibition takes place and produced work that interacts with the doorways, walls and corners, making the exhibition distinctive to Leeds and the Northern Art Prize.
Based in Carlisle in Cumbria, Harrison exhibits new works entitled Reflect, which consists of sculpture, painting and drawings. The work Common Reflections is a development of her 2012 Berlin solo show Fear Forgetting, shown at Silberkuppe Gallery. This new installation consists of two opposing constructions of concrete posts, wire, mirrors and corrugated zinc sheeting and is strewn with personal items childrens clothing, toys, photographs and kitchen ephemera. It was initially produced to picture the occupation of a site adjacent to Greenham Common in the 1980s where women created a peace camp to protest against the nuclear weapons sited there; the women used mirrors both to reflect the base and those guarding it.
The Last Gaze is a painting by Harrison, drawing upon the painting The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse (1894), from the Leeds Art Gallery collection. The Last Gaze reflects on the Waterhouse painting in a pairing in both color and black and white, on the adjacent wall are automobile rear-view mirrors which reflect Harrison's painting, conflicting and confusing perceptions. Harrison hopes this disorients the audience and disconcerts their sense of both viewing and being viewed, similar to Velasquezs painting Las Meninas, exploring the theme of reflection in a number of ways in this complex series of works.
Nashashibis 13 minute film installation Lovely Young People (Beautiful Supple Bodies) features in the exhibition for the first time since Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012, which commissioned the piece with Scottish Ballet. The compelling film projection features dancers, engrossed in private rehearsal when members of the local public walk in and stand awkwardly around them; mesmeric for both dancers and intruders, twinned together in an energetic performance.
Nashashibi, who lives and works in Liverpool, also reconfigures her 2011 installation Shelter for a new Youth', originally created for Sharjah Biennnial 10. The work was made during the first revolutionary uprising in Cairo in early 2011 and reflects on the image of male youth in a post Arab Spring world.
The new work, A New Youth, includes three trees, each displaying a photograph of a denim-clad mans crotch, and a large cartoon illustration of Mickey Mouses hands in a familiar Buddha gesture, painted directly onto the gallery wall. The installation encourages a discussion on masculinity, icon and sexuality, exploring the dichotomy of two contrasting ways of looking.
Interested in the strange perspectives and relationships between the people and architecture featured in Giottos frescos, Liverpool artist Emily Speeds work asks viewers to experience and inhabit her bespoke architectural spaces. Speed has created a new work for the Northern Art Prize exhibition that includes wooden structures, cast plaster blocks and smaller assemblages.
A single installation comprising several built and cast pieces reminiscent of a stage set, Carapaces references architecture and the body, using the frescos of Giotto and his peers as inspiration.
Giottos original frescos feature improbable, intimate and strangely scaled buildings which Speed compares to furniture and her works respond to this. There are two pieces of architectural furniture made by Speed for the exhibition, one that can be inhabited by visitors and the other that is animated by performers during the exhibition. Some of Speeds own drawings and watercolours, inspired by the Italian frescos, also are on display.
Joanne Tatham & Tom OSullivan
The Newcastle based artists have constructed two new temporary structures framing the entrances to two interior galleries, the Small Lyons and the Ziff Gallery, home to some of Leeds Art Gallerys collection of Victorian Art. These large painted wooden portals highlight the point at which the historic collection meets spaces in the gallery used for temporary exhibitions.
Tatham & OSullivan also show ten framed photographs of past projects in the various stages of production, documenting and giving an insight into their work processes which are often strongly influenced by the place where the work is sited.
The Northern Art Prize was founded in 2006 by Director Pippa Hale in collaboration with design and communications agency Logistik Ltd and Leeds City Council who continue to support the Prize in its sixth year. Pippa is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of PSL [Project Space Leeds] with Kerry Harker which, this year, will open a new contemporary visual arts centre for Leeds, transforming the iconic former Tetley Brewery headquarters building into a publicly accessible creative facility, to be named The Tetley.
A panel of leading visual arts professionals selected the short listed artists from a long list of 21 artists/artist collaborators. In May 2013 Tomma Abts, Turner Prize-winning painter; Margot Heller, Director of South London Gallery; Jennifer Higgie, Co-Editor of contemporary art magazine Frieze and James Lingwood, Co-Director of Artangel and Sarah Brown will judge the artists and the exhibition to decide the winner of the 2012-13 Northern Art Prize.
The winner of the 2012-13 Northern Art Prize will be announced at an exclusive event at Leeds Art Gallery on 23 May 2013.