Established British Artist
Art Critic, Poet, Novelist and Broadcaster
DLA Piper UK LLP
Arts Institiute, Bournemonth, BA
Edinburgh College of Art, BA
Camberwell College of Arts, London, BA
Central St Martins, London, MA
Chelea College of Art and Design, MA
Loughborough School of Art and Design, BA
Selecting winners for art prize is a difficult business. By what criteria can such an array of diverse images, in different media, be judged? Many would argue that skill should be paramount, but whilst much of the work submitted for this year's DLA Piper Art Award was skilful, it all too often felt thin and over decorative. Virtual worlds and computer graphics have had a huge influence both on painting and on digitally produced images, but these escapist worlds often seemed out of synch with the serious mood of the times.
'The work that was finally chosen displayed not only skill and originality, but also showed an awareness of the world we live in, with its pressing struggles of war, climate change, mental health problems and globalisation. Anahita Rezvanir's Goyaesque images and Kate Ive's subtle installation both demonstrate a sensitivity to politics without ever being didactic, whilst Helen Saunders and Louise Carreck warn, in their uncanny images, of a dystopian future. Something, too, of the terrible beauty of industrialisation is captured in Sachiyo Nishimura's poetic, yet spare images, while Sue Morgan's installation, which borrows from surrealism, trawls the depth of the psyche, investigating mental fragility.
Our aim was to choose art that was not only visually engaging but that also made us think and challenged our preconceptions. We believe that this is what we have achieved with this brave new work.
This is a timely exhibition in the context of today. Modern societies have been growing and living beyond their financial and environmental needs and these young vanguards see the surrounding challenges and face them with intelligence and bravery. We hope that you will join us in supporting their achievements and future endeavours.
Exhibition at Sarah Myerscough Fine Art from 22 May to 13 June 2009