With the first deadline for the New Chapter Arts Prize, in conjunction with According To McGee, only 4 days away, we thought we’d share a few of the entries so far.
We’ve been blown away by the talent applied to the brief of “Hidden” and it’s great to see so many thought provoking interpretations.
As co-owner of According To McGee and head of the judging panel, I have selected and critiqued one special entry from each category to give you a taste of what’s to come. We all also hope it inspires you to get creating and entering if you haven’t already.
Polish born photographer Piotr Kapica travels extensively and ensures that his camera goes with him. With the searching eye of the artist, he has a curiosity that elevates his photographs from mere reportage. Well framed, carefully balanced and often provocative, his work is more concerend about being a finished piece of visual art than about engendering debate. And this is what separates him from other young photographers on the Northern Art scene.
Currently there is a real concern to get all topical, to unpack ideas and provoke a response. Piotr’s strangely haunting coverage is very good photography first, a ‘great idea’ second. If you capture a unque moment with flair and sensitivity the ‘concepts’ follow. Here it’s the camera catching the back of an Israeli soldier as he scans the landscape for hidden Hamas fighters. Are we complicit in the search? or do we have a separate vantage point? If so, how far does this make us uncomfortable? Valid questions, all. But what’s important here is that it’s a well taken shot under obviously difficult conditions. For that we should keep an eye on further work from this intriguing photographer.
Richard Moulton is a York based artist who trained in Fine Art and Graphic Design at Leeds Metropolitan University. He has exhibited in both Harrogate and Glasgow before returning to York, where he has largely undertaken commissioned work on a diverse range of subjects: from portraits and landscapes to more narrative pieces. In 2005 he was shortlisted for Channel 5′s Big Art Challenge for his tryptych on African Art and is regarded as one of York’s up and coming young artists. An accomplished draughtsman, Richard strongly holds good drawing to be the basis of good art and his work certainly reflects this.
Richard is a purist. He holds that Life Drawing is the Holy Grail of creativity, and he’s right. What’s especially pertinent here though for ‘Hidden’ is that he’s started to flesh out a new series called ‘Narrative’ and is focusing on stories – stories we don’t normally hear from people who don’t normally report what’s going on. Ideal for the ‘Hidden’ brief, really. It shares similar concerns with Luke Dixon’s illustration art, but filters those concerns through painting, and not just polite watercolours or pedestrian acrylic. This is as exciting a painting as anywhere in the North, thickly applied oils, diluted here and there with a daring splash of alcohol solution.
Teesside artist Luke Dixon has drawn a series of illustrations called ‘The Hidden’.
Luke’s art is concerned with amongst other things what used to be the working class. Like me, he’s a Teessider, and was brought up on a council estate that was desperately poor but proud and hardworking. Now the industry has gone and it’s become a crack drenched war zone ruled by ten year old boys in hoodies. His art has a fine pedigree: illustration can sometimes come accompanied by a deceptive weight, a surprising gravity. Comic books these are not. Hogarth wielded the same tool centuries ago. When there are so many social problems hidden from mainstream recognition and conversation, sometimes it’s art that is on the surface ‘lighter’ that can lift the stones and reveal what’s hidden.
What works especially well here is the complex response: there’s a suggestion of a cinematic thrill, almost as if this race of people are alien; there’s a sensitive compassion – you can’t draw that well a subject matter that is so difficult without actually caring; and there’s an anger, a muted rage that comes across quite beautifully and gives the drawings a redemptive power. Illustration can be as much a social tool as any other art form. Luke’s drawings are a small reminder that apathy is not enough. Whether it’s self imposed or not, being hidden from what we take for granted – food, warmth, friends – is something we all need to talk about a lot more.
Thanks to Luke, Piotr, and Richard for lending their talent to the competition. To check out the entry guidelines click here.