2013 Winner: Jack Stanton
2013 Finalists: Michal Baror, Glenn Kennedy and Rosie O'Grady
New Sensations was launched seven years ago to support the most imaginative and talented young artists in the UK and to present their work to an international audience during Frieze Week.
The Prize is now established in the UK as the most important annual prize for emerging artists, and it showcases each year the best graduates studying at UK and Republic of Ireland art schools.
We are excited to present the 25 shortlisted artists for New Sensations 2014 who have been chosen by our panel of judges: gallery founder and curator Ceri Hand, renowned artist Tom Hunter, arts writer Jessica Lack, Bloomberg New Contemporaries director Kirsty Ogg, and Saatchi Art chief curator Rebecca Wilson. Works by the shortlisted artists will be shown in the New Sensations exhibition in October.
During my two years in graduate school my practice has remained rooted in painting, with a particular fascination concerning movement in the broadest sense as a condition of ongoing change.
In thinking about the theatrical facades of historical events, I now create my own realities in the form of painted stage sets.
By drawing on the diversity of my surroundings, I populate my paintings with representatives and artifacts from other cultures that would otherwise be foreign to me. I reference white/western imperialism when appropriating objects that I find and paint over, an act that mirrors the subsuming of downtrodden cultures. I then symbolically renegotiate their currency by appointing them a place in my painted worlds. I work with pre existing stereotypes and question them by painting in elements that diametrically oppose those misconceptions with antithetical imagery in order to provoke thought in the viewer.
Elizabeth-Anne Curistan is the recipient of the ‘Catalyst Arts Emerging Artist Award’, the ‘Flax Art Studios Graduate Award’ and has been included in the ‘AxisWeb MAstars of 2014’.
Her work takes on a multi-disciplined approach from sculpture and installation to video and photography. Currently, through the construction of large room installations, her work is documenting the intermediate stage during rites of passage where the subject simultaneously contains elements of both its previous and subsequent forms but is identified as neither. She further explores this notion by using materials that are found, bought or second hand and then deconstructs them from their previous form to reconstruct them into something new. By burning only the underside of the materials she is able to further signify the opposing relationship between the interior and exterior self during rites of passage, as this action is symbolic of change, cleansing and rebirth into something new.
My practice comes down to sitting with, and looking at objects relaying with paint what I see. The objects I paint are items I have collected, and saved; they remind me of people and places I have encountered. Through a demanding and disciplined practice I intuitively select the objects to be painted. The subject of each painting exists in a field of non-representational space, remaining in a state of tension that questions its gravitational ground. This use of space allows size and identification of the objects to be questioned. The images are initially sparse, and the subjects’ simple, but formal elements such as color, composition, and paint handling request closer investigation of the surface. The paintings become complex, as subtleties in the application of paint are revealed. I hope through the medium of paint, transcendence of emotion can be relayed in the description of these objects, and the space they consume.
The act of drawing, in its instinctive and immediate nature, serves to capture the essence of being-in-the-world. I am interested in how this process might act to facilitate a search for a sense of belonging, and reveal connections between time, place and memory. Through a process of experimental drawing I endeavour to trace journeys through life, paying particular attention to the material encountered along the way. The dynamics of specific environments become the drawing material, for example, the chalk from the sea bed describes the wave movement of the sea; a seagull feather found on specific wanderings, becomes a tool for drawing; wind, rain and frost leave their mark on paper stretched and loaded with ink.
Here the drawing process represents a search for identity and a sense of home, and becomes the impetus for large-scale immersive video installations. The residue of the lived experience, which is evident within the body of drawings, is translated into stop-motion animations where marks appear and disappear, echoing the ebb and flow of time. Traces of journey’s are witnessed through the use of archival film footage which enables an otherwise absent connection with family history and memory. All of these experiments offer a very specific insight on the otherwise invisible traces of being-in-the-world.
Themes of allegory, mourning, and loss are at the centre of the work, which uses the transitional urban landscape and obsolete technologies as a backdrop. Photographs refer to a forgotten industry; industrial relics which become urban follies, lying precariously between construction and deconstruction, archaic and futuristic. The notion of allegory appears where it lays beyond the realms of the political, existing also as a platform for mourning. Through adopting the use of a monotone blue, they can be read paradoxically; representations of the city have been dismembered whilst at the same time have been carefully reconstructed, enabling a connection with an otherwise unobtainable past. This work engages with the allegorical impulse of the photograph; the portal which is provided by the medium.
Photographic and installational works explore the interplay between the past and the present to imagine future potentialities, exploring dystopian visions through engaging in the complexity of restoration, longing, and homesickness. The unattainability of the past is engulfed by the materiality of the structure of the ruin, where human intervention appears to have been reabsorbed into the landscape. It stands for both progression and error, and its relationship with natural temporality. The material language of regeneration is used to question this progression, in order to highlight the structure of future ruins.
"I push the paint across the surface of the paper, I draw a line and allow the paint to rest and fill that line, and I stop. I stop and I know that it's perfect for that moment."
(Thoughts from my studio August 2013)
I see painting as a correspondence between what you are and what you see, evoking life intimately. My work comes from a quiet and sensitive place where I try to be absolutely present and free of thought to allow as little of 'myself' into the work.
Lilacs, burnt oranges, lemon yellows, surly sulks of dirty pink, colour is my powerful ally, abstract shapes give form to events or happenings on the surface of the paper.
Born from this poised yet open place I hope to bring about a gentle reawakening of the senses. I believe sensitivity should stand proud and holds its own in this very loud world. I see my paintings as delicate, stilled and alert moments, caught out of 'psychological' time, where they are held, or exist in such a way that they become the universe itself.
My work focuses on story telling. I develop narrative through various games and strategies, from a system of mark making as a means to fill the space, to the written word as an intervention, through to sound and its relationship to painting.
I’m interested in how sound informs the construction of the painting and how sound informs the experience of the painting for the viewer. I approach the construction of audio and painting in the same way, combining different elements or preconceived ideas of narrative in the same space, which then inform and subvert one another. These pieces also explore sampling, the generation of loops and the boundaries between live and digital music.
Using preconceived ideas of narrative and various mediums as a stage on which to play out narrative games, my work explores the language of stereotypes, urban myths and the interminable human capacity to believe in anything. Often mixing grand themes or elements with the pitiful, I use self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation as a means to process past experiences and celebrate anxieties.
My work focuses on the processes of sublimation and spirituality – imagining these practices with both a sense of farce and also a sincere wonder. My practice is about celebration in place of observance.
Lives and works in London.
Writing about flower painting Lars Bang Larsen has said that in western art botanical imagery tends to lead to ominous ideas and visions of decay (or frivolous aesthetics). I am concerned with amalgamating these ideas as a way of opening up the contemporary to the unexpected, thinking about irony and sincerity as alternate modes of addressing tradition and pushing these subjects to a frenzied state. Layering abstracted motifs, lettering and found objects to create dizzying surfaces, and webs of recurring motifs that trip you up like you're slightly lost. While clearly rooted in a bygone visual language my mode of research and artistic production reflects (and owes its method to) digital space and our increasingly immersive encounter with technology, which is another way of saying the freedom to blur boundaries between sources and eras and methods of artistic production.
Born 1986 in Nieuwvliet, the Netherlands
Currently living and working in London, United Kingdom
‘Hermit. I wonder what the world is doing now.’
Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or; Life in the woods
I am fascinated by the concept of the recluse living a simple secluded life in natural surroundings; especially the role of this concept in modern society. One of my main inspirations for my art practice is, and has been, the book Walden; or; Life in the woods by Henry David Thoreau. In the spring of 1845 Thoreau built a cabin in the woods near Walden Ponds in Concord, Massachussets where for two years he lived a secluded life. Next to his daily activities the book describes his meditations about modern society and human existence. Thoreau believed that the sicknesses of the contemporary soul could well be cured by a rediscovery of living in nature.
Thoreau provides almost diagrammatic instructions on how to live in the woods. I found similar obsessive instructions in survival guide books. Illustrating and informing in a very formal manner how to deal with dangerous situations one could encounter when living in nature. I started reconstructing these illustrations in drawings combined with small sculpted figures that perform eccentric, rituals. One semi nude figure is raising his arms, opening his jacket, making himself look bigger. He is scaring of a mountain lion but the object of danger is not present. Another nude figure is leaning against a tree stump. He looks slightly absent. He is demonstrating how to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre when no one is around. Without their context these images become comicly absurd.
I do believe that this fascination with hermitism and survivalism is more widely shared. If we look closely we can recognize an emergence of this fascination in popular culture. There are numerous television shows from the last decade about living and surviving in nature. Ray Mears’s World of Survival, Les Stroud’s Survivorman and the more extreme Man vs. Wild by Bear Grylls are just to name a few. Most of these shows are based on the same concept where the host is put in a hostile environment for usually a consecutive period of time. Solely depending on his knowledge of nature the host demonstrates how to deal with extreme conditions. The supposed reality factor of these shows, and with it their integrity, have been heavily disputed.
The situations that are being portrayed in the survival books and programmes are so very distant from our every day lives. Yet the information is still being disseminated for no practical use. This duality for me expresses the duality men has with nature. We live in a world where we set goals to reach environmental sustainability. These goals are then easily abandoned for the economic benefits of, for example, the controversional drilling for shale gas. And still we fantasize about a life in nature.
To live in China is to be part of a mass society even though dreams might appear remote and individual. There is no way of escaping the sense of being part of a crowd. I like to watch and depict live crowds; this allows me to observe myself and my life from another angle. Each time I look at a crowd, I see that everyone is different, unique, and at the same time so small and identical. I love crowds, I fear them and I am curious about the life of each member. When I observe and depict them, I wish I were a spectator; however, I am one of them and I can never escape that fact. It is like a game between people and themselves. Sometimes we can't recognize, which is a real world between real life and our mind. Our current environment is brimming with people's desires, and through my art I try to capture this restless, helpless and confused mass of people. Sometimes, it is a bittersweet pill to swallow. I try to draw every different face from my memory, so it like a collection form my mind. Every face for me tells a unique story, and to paint each face from my mind is more like watching different accident happens. I image every small figure is myself who trying to see found himself from watching different stories.
I'm trying to build a world or a series of worlds in which panic and serenity are interchangeable, the faces are alive but they are hanging on the wall, the tiny people doesn't have any identity but they always try to find themselves.
I make paintings about desire. Within my practice, I use paint to make images that explore the nature of fantasy, nostalgia and play as mechanisms which must negotiate between reality and fictional experiences, but ultimately fail to draw any distinctions between the two.
These works can be constructed from: drawings, personal photographs, clumsy screen grabs from my television, and hand made props and dolls. They reference iconography of popular culture, the history of painting, and my own idiosyncratic perspective.
“the dead sea the cool mist hikers getting hit by lightning”
My practice is concerned with the difficulties and relationships of authenticity and identity. My work includes video and writing, whilst being primarily orientated around painting and the concepts of 'the painter'. I am interested in the intertextual relationships between the historical weight and act of painting together with meta-histories and physical action, co existing and inhabiting a space.
Welsh histories are explored within dispersed scenarios and a disjointed nonlinear narrative. Figures struggle with the witnessing, understanding and reinterpreting of gestures and experience. The false but familiar substitute landscapes create a gestalt of personal paradise and understanding; the creation of an autobiographical, fictional theatre of context or roman a clef.
Aesthetically I am concerned with failure, night time colours and inviting chance. I am excited by non-painting and a recyclable disposability. Time is spent with points of emptiness, large black fields and plays on obvious metaphorical motifs, with echoes of good and bad painting cooperating towards some sort of balance.
I have exhibited worldwide and my work is featured in national collections at The British Library, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Manchester School of Art and private collections throughout Europe.
VIDEOS - https://vimeo.com/stephenmarshall
I make playful sculptures that perform and evolve throughout, and beyond, my creation – especially in terms of their shape, and the physicality of the unstable materials that I build them from.
When creating parasites I was inspired by how the materials I made and used fed off each other’s properties; the net, dough and string of my recent sculpture series structurally supporting each other, and these responses creating new, and often quite fragile, forms.
My work usually begins by fiddling with materials - handmade, domestic, and convenient - and playing with their properties to explore what forms can be created. This element of play is echoed in the curation of my sculptures, in environments that you can explore around and inside.
Working with recipes of dough, I have been excited by how my sculptures change and adapt; playdough crystallizing in reaction with the surrounding environment, yeast reactions expanding bread dough into novel forms, and weight distorting underlying structures; and I enjoy delegating these elements of the making process to the properties of the materials I make and choose.
These sculptural forms behave like figures; sensual, tactile, fragile, unstable and transient.
In my most recent experiments in Moira’s Lounge I have been creating digital-like moiré patterns using the analogue sensual materials I work with. I have been excited to explore the physicality of figurative forms in relation to their flat representation in virtual digital images; using of print outs of images of people found posted on facebook, amongst environments of other structures I build, to compete as figurative objects.
I revisit the language of early Modernism to interrogate the past, primitivism, civilisation and mythology.
My practice makes reference to the work and ideas of early 20th century avant-garde artists, their visual and verbal rhetoric of destructive purification, and their exhilaration in irrevocable, violent shifts in the social, political and aesthetic status quos. I suggest the early Modernist art canon to be of questionable morality; the rampant individualist face of totalitarian mass ideologies; and a distant well from which spring both the pleasures and anxieties of today’s modernities.
My work engages with traditional methods such as painting, woodcarving and poetry, but also digital print, to forge an artistic language whose forms are seemingly extremely traditional, but also ambiguous and problematic. I draw upon ideologies of power, and their interweaving with the idea of the heroic physical body. I employ a perverse and sometimes monumental grammar of the defunct language of post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism and Cubism, with its reference to both myths of the Modernist canon and the folk art from which it drew many of its forms.
I often work in desolate landscapes: in peat bogs, on mountains and on moorlands. My struggle to gain a hard-won equilibrium in these changeable environments takes form through an ongoing series of performances that are punctuated briefly by events of energy containment and release.
As human beings we have a tendency to relegate the non-human and the non-organic to the role of substrate to be acted upon. Yet lived human experience is punctuated by natural phenomena that provoke a state of rupture; wild uncontrollable forces that addle and alter human bodies.
By setting up processes that have no definite beginning or end: chemical reactions, or objects upon which physical forces are exerted; I am able to explore the plasticity of the material world we inhabit, scrutinizing human anxiety as experienced in the face of elemental forces.
My practice is driven by the ambitious task, perhaps mistakenly, of understanding what it means to exist and exist with others. I find that working in multiple mediums: performance, video, animation, writing and installation, allows me in some way to do this – additionally I avoid fetishizing a single medium. As a personal predisposition I only genuinely respond to experiences that are in relation to my understanding of the contemporary world and my place within it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
I explore such themes as autobiography, male identity, popular culture and historicity: patterns that weave themselves into the contemporary. It is the incompatibilities in this weave that especially fascinate me. However, I do not wish to objectify my subjective experience, rather I prefer to create work that stands on its own two feet producing autonomous and seductive experiences. -----------------------------------------------------------------
Contingency plays a vital role throughout my practice; yet, I am also very conscious of how things come together step by step. In general my practice is contradictive, prone to taking unexpected turns, but I consider this part of a healthy practice. -----------------------------------------------------------------
One example of an unexpected turn is my last work “Rehearsal” which evolved very rapidly from a process of associative investigation and that veers most distinctively from my more recent moving image works. “Rehearsal” seems to have married all of my experimentation over the last 7 years and it is a direction that I found particularly useful in perpetuating my confusion! Simply put, my work is all about investigation and encounter; about juxtaposing absurdity and seriousness, but what's more, it is about unashamedly producing “art”, art that is strong, courageous, fragile and clumsy, art that affects us and leaves us confused and interested enough to walk away thinking.
I am as seduced by a 1980’s carpet tile as the vista of a seemingly endless desert
I’m interested in our capacity for momentary encounters with the actuality of the world. The visual frontages of buildings and places are a primary point of interest.
I capture these surfaces as a palette and use them both as a point of departure into making and as material to make with.
Surfaces of things are peeled off and poured into or smoothed over into something new and unexpectedly reflexive, like some essential recycling of the world’s materials using plaster, foam, metal, wood, vinyl, glass, glitter...
Subjectivity, thingness, communication, and representation are key areas of investigation in my work, I don’t seek to push viewers towards a particular conclusion, there is no right or wrong way to view things. I want the viewer to be liberated into a present encounter, making their own connections regardless of my own motives for making. If I leave any visual traces of the provenance behind, it hopefully won’t exceed a list of descriptions to be read in no particular order.
Babette Semmer, born 1989 in London.
Abstraction is never separate from the social, it is never general. Our everyday lives are full of abstractions that carry specific aesthetic intensity: A plastic table-cover in an ice-cream parlour, wisps of smoke and coloured lights in a discotheque, marker-pen tags on brown-tiled toilets, photographs of sunsets and oceans, vague recollections of wallpaper designs, a funny dance-move, a drunk impression, nail-polish, smudged blackboards, gooey food.
When I went to primary school in South Germany I was embarrassed by my school satchel; the print was of dinosaurs or jungle-animals. In either case, it was obviously meant for boys.
As a painter I am fascinated by these visual cues, which release desire, irritation or pure affect. Evoking images which can be deciphered neither as culture nor as nature - hybrid depictions.
Born in Bogota, Colombia. My work is based on creating images that transcend the retina. I employ an expanded vocabulary of photography that is not subject to lens based technologies. I'm interested in perception and contemplation and often forgo using the camera, based on the understanding that a mediated representation [via paper or screen] greatly hinders our ability to perceive images in their full spectrum. My work typically takes the form of an installation of multiple elements that catalyze the interplay of stimulus between the pieces and the viewer. The materials used and the emotive and referential cues they yield, play an integral role in crafting a cohesion that is not led by a fixed narrative.
S-he bites her lip, trying to figure where s-he begins and the world ends? Maybe her pointy nose pointing towards The End (her Big Toe as The End)? Her outlines have become entangled with her inlines as her kidney stones collide with meteorite rocks.
S-he has a partial body that is not apart but a part of; interwoven in the interplay of history, mythologies, narratives, invention and psychology. S-he is continuously braided with shadows and doubles of herself; becoming a braid (all she ever wanted to be). Her braids (with snake-skin scrunchies) are antennae and hairy extensions, plugging her into furniture, forests and sometimes even into herself.
My work is concerned with the poetics of vision. Playing with the rhymes of colour and the rhythm of marks I create abstract paintings that speak of the back and forth, the oscillation, the uncertainty of our sight. I aim to call into question the give and take between viewer and image. Weaving from painting to collage, to sculpture and back again, my work describes a lilting journey, both in process and image. Drawing inspiration from a variety of scenes and sources around me, and picking threads from a diverse crowd of other artists, my work is a rich montage; a shelf heavy with the mementos of travels; your pockets after a busy day in town.
My palette is English but my shapes exotic. My touch is feminine but my composition brutal. Throughout my practice I enjoy gluing separate things together. As an extensive hoarder of everything around me, I think of my paintings as collections. Collage and collections are inseparable in my opinion.
Jack Towndrow lives and works in London. He Graduate from the Slade School of fine art BA in June 2014. From October he will be moving to Antwerp Belgium to live and work. Jacks work is based around the idea of an imagined landscape, he uses these different landscapes as a tool or platform for further experimentation with paint and image, in a sense the landscape becomes his stage. Working with many different images, he is interested in ways that you can animate a certain object, how you can change its state or our preconceived ideas of what that object means to us. Taking an image out of its context allows for more possibilities within the work.
Born 1992. My practice is holistic, in a sense that I don’t try to isolate one part of my life as my art.
I enjoy carpentry as a meditation. Through site-specific assemblage, the furniture and objects that I make become an exploration of and a product of my surroundings.
I aim to explore the imaginary space between art and life, the politics of the gallery, the idea of ‘non art’. I am questioning the nature of a creative practice and exploring the myth-making that surrounds ‘art’ and the ‘artist’. My practice is really a means of learning about things, people around me, conversations, woodwork and developing a sense of what it means for me to be in the world, as a person.
The research for this work included, a conversation that I overheard on the bus, a letter to a prisoner on death row, the discovery of a sea urchin spine, a word on the tip of my tongue, smelling a severed arm on a stainless steel trolley, a discussion with a Philatelist, winking at a stranger, a belief in Pareidolia.
Red Lips, Detached Retinas sculpts quietly political moments into a tangential sequence. A horse diving in 1906, an ivory statue of Venus, an emasculated anvil, the compression of two thousand postal stamps, a model made from mars dust, an arch laced with dried blood.
These objects frame my frustration with femininity. Red Lips, Detached Retinas narrates digressions that are obsessive, introspective, and therefore difficult to unravel. The intention is not to exhibit a linear view, but to open up awkward political questions. This happens though a viewers attempt to classify the works overly specific state of flux.
Repetition, the “excessive”, and authority.
Aligning to the evermore diversifying platforms today, the contemporary increasingly struggles to define the "now" at a time of hopeful trans-nationalism and when individuals, like myself, take on the identity of “third-culture” citizens and lose discreet associations with a specific cultural identity.
Born in Beijing and having lived in Nairobi, Bangkok and now London, I construct self-perpetual systems in my work, within which I revisit and confront specific personal objects of significance. This process has allowed me to re-occasion a sense of place into temporal configurations, which negate fixed forms of representation. References are employed from the recesses of cultural history (such as African jugs made from old pirate ships that occupied my childhood home, Thai Khon dance drama masks, and shapes designated to colours by Swiss artist Johannes Itten), as well as traces of elements from contemporary culture.
Instead of accepting the given space and time, my work aims to explore space no longer just from an illusionistic point of view, but also in terms of “difference” and how order and repetition generate space and difference (Deleuze, Difference and Repetition). Hence, the fields of modulating systems and motifs in my work, existing on shifting hierarchies, confront expectations and anticipations arising from the repetitive system. And with the motifs’ cultural and context-specificity, I challenge how permission and authority stand in contemporary artistic practice; the appropriation and exploitation of visual references; presence and absence; the re-organisation of painter-painting and artwork-audience relationships today; what may be recognised and misrecognised in works of art, resisting the unknown that is outside presence.