ExhibReview – Catlin Art Prize 2015 – Londonewcastle Project Space, London

The Catlin Art Prize, priding itself on nurturing new talent is now in it’s ninth year. Their aim is to showcase new artists in their first year out of art school. Those finalists who work is displayed here are chosen from the much larger Catlin Guide 2015 of those Art Catlin believe “will make a significant mark on the art world in the next decade”.IMG_7005

Taking over the whole of Londonewcastle Project Space in Shoreditch, this years finalists are everything you would expect from this contemporary vibrant show. The eight finalists vary in their mediums. This is a mixture of installation and static art and some more interactive than others. The space opens with Zhu Tian, who uses everyday objects in her walk-through installations. We have LED road sign usually associated with motorway roadworks called My Dearest Wish which projects variable messages and a yellow industrial steel shutter door titled Mother Died Today. Or Maybe Yesterday, I Don’t Know which opens an closes allowing visitors to walk through and intervals. Seeing these objects we pass on a daily basis in situations which they are not usually associated with is unnerving and works incredibly well in engaging the audience with the exhibition.

Felicity Hammond has used a myriad of materials in her work displayed. You Will Enter An Oasis is a mixture of copper, acrylic inkjet print and ceramic. In this work she has created a planting display, using retro tiling one associates with an 1980’s shopping mall. The kitsch quality to this work continues as the leaves of the plants sprouting from this ceramic shrine are not real leaves but in fact photographs, glossy and the type of house plants you find in every lobby and departure lounge around the country. This was my personal favourite,  the pastiche interpretation had a charm lacking in their real world counterparts.

Nicholas Williams Johnson, Plant of Many Faces (The Bush Said Nothing), Catlin Art Prize 2015

Nicholas Williams Johnson, Plant of Many Faces (The Bush Said Nothing), Catlin Art Prize 2015

Two others that stand out for me Nicholas Williams Johnson and Paul Schneider. Both works are an unusual use of exhibition space. Nicholas Williams Johnson’s paintings create an atmosphere of contrast. The plants envoke images of vines and jungle chaos, but using colours and mixed mediums that one associates with graffiti and more urban surroundings. His works cover the walls going beyond the usual canvas but smaller panels of work are hung over the top, blurring the boundaries of where one work ends and another begins. Paul Schneider has created a basketball court in Bending the Rules, whose boundaries and markings extend up the walls and across the ceiling, similarly blurring boundaries, but this time as to where the court begins and ends. The visitor becomes trapped in never-ending continuum of the court.

Paul Schneider, Bending the Rules

Paul Schneider, Bending the Rules – Catlin Art Prize 2015

The 2015 winner was announced on 13th May as Zhu Tian, credited for her “disruption of the everyday”. The prize of £5000 is decided by a panel of three judges; Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation, Carlotte Schepke of Large Glass and George Vasey, Writer and Curator of the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. Alongside this, the Visitor Vote was won by Paul Schneider for his work Bending the Rules and has won £2000 with over 2000 visitors voting in this years ballot.

The Catlin Art Prize 2015 is at the Londonewcastle Project Space in London until 31st May 2015.


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