Aesthetica Art Prize Booklet

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Showcasing innovative and outstanding pieces, the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition features shortlisted works from artists in the following categories: Photographic and Digital Art; Three Dimensional Design and Sculpture; Painting and Drawing, and Video, Installation and Performance.


  • Aesthetica Art Prizewith York Museums Trust at York St Marys

    An Exhibition of Shortlisted Works from Eight Contemporary Artists

    8 March 28 April 2013 Open Daily 10am - 5pm

    Free Guide

  • 20 MarchThe winner of last years Aesthetica Art Prize, Julia Vogl, discusses her practice and the importance of art prizes for emerging artists.

    27 MarchLaura Turner, York Art Gallery Curator, and Cherie Federico, Editor of Aesthetica Magazine, address the selection process, curating the show, and the shortlisted artists works.

    3 April A chance to find out more about performance art in practice with Dr Claire Hind from York St John University.

    17 April A conversation with Frances Guy, Head of Collection and Exhibitions at The Hepworth Wakefield and Aesthetica Art Prize judge.

    24 AprilArtist Mary Humphrey talks about her fascinating change of career to photography and her series, Roma : Transylvania : January 2011, which is on display in the show.

    For more

    Lunchtime Talks12.30pm - 1.00pm at York St Marys

    Further your appreciation of contemporary art and enhance your Aesthetica Art Prize experience by joining us at the following talks, which are open to the public and free to attend.

  • The Aesthetica Art Prize ExhibitionAn Exhibition of Shortlisted Works from Eight Contemporary Artists

    Showcasing innovative and outstanding pieces, the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition features shortlisted works from artists in the following categories: Photographic and Digital Art; Three Dimensional Design and Sculpture; Painting and Drawing, and Video, Installation and Performance.

    The medieval backdrop of York St Marys provides a unique setting for the exhibition, challenging the notion of the white cube and inspiring a dialogue between the historic and the contemporary.

    This show highlights artistic talent from locations including the USA, South Korea, Australia, Denmark and the UK. From thousands who entered, eight have been selected for exhibition and the work of a further 100 is projected within

    the space. This offers visitors an opportunity to experience the international breadth, and appreciate the range and quality of the work.

    The accompanying publication features the 100 artists recommended by Aesthetica and is on sale at the venue, online and at select galleries nationwide.

    We would like to thank all of the artists involved and extend our gratitude to our partners and sponsors, including York St John University, The Hepworth Wakefield, Awol Studios, Lawrence Art Supplies, Prestel and 1331.

    Cherie Federico, Editor, Aesthetica MagazineJanet Barnes, Chief Executive, York Museums Trust

    Organised by Aesthetica Magazine, in partnership with York Museums Trust, the Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in contemporary art from across the world, supporting and bringing compelling new works to a wider audience.

  • London-based artist Clare Walter works with three-dimensional sculpture and installation, and on two-dimensional surfaces. The main focus of her practice is on personal and political relationships, and patterns of involvement relating to issues of human rights and social justice.Triptych (Untitled) addresses three pressing global

    issues. It represents three types of journey, usually conducted in secret, pertaining to grave abuses of human rights; the trafficking of women and children for commercial sex exploitation; routes taken by unaccompanied minors (children seeking asylum on their own), and flights conducted by the CIA in the process of extraordinary rendition.

    Each route is graphically represented by lines linking a starting point, major staging posts and a final destination, and includes a symbolic, blank map of the world rendered as an abstract form.Trafficking (Panel 2 - on display) lies somewhere

    between a painting and a drawing, and is made in acrylic piped onto coarse linen. This material is similar in appearance and texture to sackcloth and was chosen to underline the crudeness of the travellers experiences, whether before, during or as a result of their journey. The triptych includes three landscape panels which are unusually elongated, suggesting information boards in a travel hub such as an airport.

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  • With a background in film production and photography, Damien OMara has completed two photographic series, exhibiting the Suited Man in Melbourne and the Trespasser in northern New South Wales. He was awarded a Regional Arts Development Grant in 2012 for two video art pieces exhibited as video projections at the Swell Sculpture Festival, and is currently working on a photographic series investigating contemporary masculinity through traditional work roles. Trespasser depicts suited men in places that

    are off-limits or out-of-bounds to people in corporate roles. Whilst the image of the suited man denotes feelings of conformity to role and

    position, the presence of large-scale machinery or infrastructure suggests the insignificance of the individual in this environment. The works portray an individual in a conservative role within a dominant environment, crossing a threshold.They reflect the dilemmas of the quarter

    life crisis in contemporary Australia, where professionals in their 30s increasingly reject corporate careers and question the social mores that led them to that world in the first place. The works interrogate the value of role and position in the attainment of a meaningful, authentic existence, and the suitability of the traditional paths available in achieving those goals.

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  • Through the medium of social, collaborative photography, Mary Humphrey is committed to pursuing her passion for education and the plight of marginalised communities. Humphrey recently gained a First Class Honours Degree, and during her studies she produced work focusing on Travellers and Transylvanian Roma, highlighted by a solo exhibition in Istanbul in September 2012. She is currently continuing with this work as well as studying for an MA.

    Roma : Transylvania : January 2011 narrates the experiences and situations that Humphrey encountered whilst meeting and photographing Roma families living on the outskirts of a

    Transylvanian village. The portraits represent proud and defiant people who have suffered and are still suffering. The series captures the essence of their identity, and their confident and strong personalities are blatantly exposed by their uninhibited gazes. The depiction reflects their hardiness and resilience despite the basic and stark conditions that continue to prevail for these communities.

    Information is presented within the frame, but beyond it further questions arise concerning the subjects past and present ways of life, their impact on todays society and their future. Much suspicion and folklore continue to surround the Roma communities. Humphreys work asks, what is the reality?

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  • British artist Poppy Whatmore has recently won an award for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and has exhibited in New Contemporaries 2011-2012 (works chosen for Saatchi Gallerys Public Collection), Academy Now (2013) and London Art Fair (2013).

    By subverting and deconstructing the conventional, Whatmore transforms everyday objects into personified and animal-like forms. She uses assemblage to reconfigure conventional forms into surprising and playful arrangements, portraying the flaws and failures of the human condition.The Family Meal is a consolidation of disfigured

    and reconfigured objects composed in a skeletal and structured kitchen/living room space. What-more applies DIY methods with an alternative slant, using absurd mechanisms for fixings and means of construction. Consequently, her works juxtapose a practical process against deconstruction.

    Each furniture explodes out of, or cuts through, a catalogued setting, displacing the viewer from the original sense of order and composition of objects. The Family Meal plays with memory, projecting

    broken fragments of past events into reality with a physical presence, exploring to the extreme our relationships with each other and our expression of physical action in relation to the domestic.

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  • British artist Caroline Jane Harris explores the intricacies of nature through a labour intensive paper-cutting technique. Since graduating from Fine Art Printmaking at the University of Brighton, she has been awarded residencies in both London and Spain, and has participated in several group shows. In 2012, she was awarded the Judges Choice for the British Women Artists Competition.

    Harris responds to visual phenomena in nature; the endless geometric patterns found on all levels of existence. Starting with tree formations, she creates an idealised aesthetic of nature through the symmetrical rendering of digitally printed photographs, which are then hand-cut and layered.

    The meditative quality of the work is reflected in her interest in artistic and devotional practices of Eastern Cultures.The hand allows for subtle deviations from

    the lines and emphasises craftsmanship and wonderment. Once layered, the two-dimensional paper cuts have an inherent sense of depth, creating three-dimensional drawings separated between glass. In Untitled, Secondary Growth and Matter, Harris explores the division between science and art; traditional processes and contemporary practices. The white planes of paper become infinite and abstract, as if viewed through a telescope or under a microscope.

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  • London-based Korean artist Kyunghee Park com-pleted her Master of Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, and has since exhibited at the Bargehouse Gallery and Smokehouse Gallery in London. Heavily influenced by her childhood, Parks work focuses on certain customs that have been handed down since ancient times. It is these traditions and faiths that form the basis of who we are, however unlikely we feel this may be, or how dependent we have become on our current experiences. In for-getting these traditions, we lose sight of where we have come from, and how fundamental they are to our current life. With this in mind, the doubt and the questions surrounding what we see and what

    we dont see are the main themes of her work.Parks practice is particularly focused upon that

    which is invisible and the use of transformed and abandoned objects. She concentrates on decon-structing value systems, personal histories and culture, commenting on wider narrative structures. The shortlisted piece Untitled transcends the con-cept of time and value, moving beyond tangible appearances into a new and exciting temporality. Light is used to express the eternity of time; the reflections on transparent materials illuminate the enduring traditions that are integrated in todays society and are often forgotten or adapted to contemporary life and everyday experience.

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  • Sheffield-based artist Sara Brannan has exhibited worldwide at the Flatout AC Institute in New York and Open12 at the WW Gallery in London.

    Her work is based around the appropriation and manipulation of films in the public domain. Using them as a found object, she re-edits them into short videos focusing on the female lead character. Footage of the female alone in the frame is used, the rest of the film is removed, and the images are edited together to run consecutively, following the chronological order of the original film. This re-editing interrupts the patriarchal narrative structure and makes visible the usually invisible editing that is demanded by realism.

    The presence of woman is an indispensable element of spectacle in normal narrative film, yet her visual presence tends to work against the development of a storyline. The woman is on display; to be looked at and to provoke rather than represent. She functions as an erotic object on two levels: for the characters within the screen story, and for the spectator within the auditorium, with a shifting tension between the looks on either side of the film. By removing the male protagonist, the gaze is transferred solely to the spectator, which intensifies our own voyeuristic position. The female character is left looking passive, vulnerable and unstable, causing the viewer to reflect on her position.

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  • New York-based Korean artist Hyung-Gyu Kim employs video, sculpture, sound and electronic components to forge hybrid memories and re-examine memories once thought lost. His work has been exhibited in Japan, Korea and the USA, and has earned several international awards.Chromaphone II is the second in a series that

    explores the phenomenon of synesthesia, an experience of seeing sounds and hearing colours. Across the globe, cultures stick to rather arbitrary palettes of colours and sounds, which are then seen as fundamentally linked. To defeat the pre-existing symbols, clichs and stereotypes that dictate or confuse meaning, we must challenge our

    unacknowledged prejudices about beauty. This work examines sound and colour asso-

    ciations from across the globe by replacing the Western colour wheel and musical scale with the traditional Korean colour scheme and pentatonic scale. The five wall-mounted tubes were painstak-ingly tuned to produce a Korean note and a corresponding Korean shade throughout the surrounding space, creating a unique audio-visual composition. Western audiences are immersed in an alternate conception of colours and sounds from another land. The abstract image-song mo-mentarily erases the barriers of culture, replacing one form of cultural synesthesia with another.

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