I called in to see the Beers Lambert’s emerging artists awards exhibition earlier this week. It is always interesting to see what wins awards. Some nine works by seven artists are being presented at their gallery in Baldwin Street on the edge of the City, chosen from over 1500 worldwide submissions. US artist Scott Carter, whose head officially called Departing from the Rules of Harmony is shown below, was the first place winner. It was possibly the work I liked the most – I find I tend to like works in which people feature in some kind of way – though I was not so impressed by the reason that it appeared to gain first prize and that was the concept. It had been constructed from pieces of plaster taken from the walls of a gallery which it was explained was both performance and sculptural. A bit gimmicky, don’t you think? I did however like the way that it was layered and its damaged nose which echoed the damage done to the noses of countless classical statues.
Among the other works I liked was Oystein Dahlstrom’s Shattered shown below. The work, which is a C-print face-mounted plexi, is a simple concept of broken glass but extraordinarily slickly executed. The press release explains that Dahlstrom, who is Norwegian, prefers “incomplete and distorted states of being as interpreted through the computer generated images.” I felt this image was stronger than his other work Castle, an image of a modernist building. The broken glass, the suggestion of reflections and the black hole at its core created a compelling image which also led the viewer to contemplate what was not there, what might have been reflected.
Jack West’s Nodding Donkey appeared striking, particularly the way the shadows were reflected on the wall. He had developed this into a video showing three of them moving in tandem which the press release explained were nodding donkeys at prayer.
“The resulting kinetic sculpture exhibited sees the rhythmic grazing of chains against concrete as mechanical, sensory and allegorical,” it explained.
Jwan Yosef ‘s work Bad Posture was a deceptively simple a back to front painting on perspex. His interest is on “the occurrences which appear on the outside of, and erroneously from, the presented image.”
The differences are indeed interesting particularly the way that the paint in the image of the right escapes its boundaries and also the striations of the image on the left.
Spanish artists Alejandro Valles and Gema Perales work together under the name Aggtelek. I always find it intriguing how two artists combine to produce a single work, particularly as here when it is difficult to detect two different hands. I would have liked to have known more what this particular pair of paintings was about as “satirical mash-ups of the human condition, and acknowledged pastiche of Koons or Rosenquist ” did not seem a quite enough information.
While information on the meaning of the works may have been somewhat limited and, where there, couched in fairly impenetrable terms, what most struck me was the absence of images of the second places award winner, Canadian artist Gabriel Dawe, in the Sculpture and Installation field which was apparently due to its site specific nature. This led me to look up Dawe to see what we had missed. It was not clear from his website which work won the award but he typically creates rainbow effects using thread and hooks. I could see why the winner had not been included; apart from its site specific nature, he tends to work large. It might have filled the gallery. Even so, it would have been great to see the real thing. It left a real hole in the exhibition.
The Beers Lambert Emerging Artists Awards Exhibition is showing until January 26 at 1 Baldwin Street , London EC1V9NU