Friends of University Art and Music Graduate Art Prize 2020

Discover the freshest artistic talent from the University of Leeds

By Leeds University Library Galleries

People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery (2019) by Photographer Mark WebsterOriginal Source: Leeds University Library Galleries

In its 8th year, the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM) Graduate Art Prize rewards the artistic excellence of students completing undergraduate studies in the School of Design and in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. 

People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery by Photographer Mark WebsterOriginal Source: Leeds University Library Galleries

The four finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges. The Prize was set up to celebrate the excellence of art students at the University of Leeds and share their work with the wider public. The Prize encourages these young artists in their career, by offering them both an opportunity to exhibit in a professional setting, as well as funds to support their ongoing practice.  

People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery People in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery by Photographer Mark WebsterOriginal Source: Leeds University Library Galleries

This year's finalists are:


Poppy Jones-Little (BA Fine Art)

Sasha Napoli (BA Fine Art)

Emma Lawrence (BA Art and Design)

T’Shah Henry (BA Art and Design) 

The judges will return to choose the overall winner of the FUAM Graduate Art Prize 2020. This will be announced alongside the People's Choice winner. The Prize is supported by the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM).

Many thanks to this year’s judges: Professor Alison Fell, Jane Bhoyroo and Helen Watson.

Poppy Jones-Little - 'Lumphood'

The lumps give up their lumphood, so to speak, before they can become the statue.

‘Lumphood’ ‘lumpig at the discretion of the Conservator', 2020, Arm of a damaged sofa, deconstructed and bound, 30.5 x 18.4 x 80 cm by Poppy Jones-LittleOriginal Source: © Poppy Jones-Little

'lumpig at the discretion of the Conservator'

In reading Theodore Scaltsas’s account of Aristotle’s theory of substratum, I encountered the term ‘lumphood’; curiously, the text provides no insight into this idea. 

‘Lumphood’ ‘ding an sich- on the surface', 2020, Wood, staples and 3 screws taken from damaged Chesterfield chair, 45 x 15.4 x 16.2 cm by Poppy Jones-LittleOriginal Source: © Poppy Jones-Little

'ding an sich- on the surface’

Lumps are not the same as ‘things’ or ‘objects’, nor can they be assimilated with ‘hunks’ or ‘blobs’. A lump occupies a space somewhere within latency or excess, within the outer limits of our recognition.  

‘Lumphood’ ‘lumpig at the discretion of the Conservator', 2020, Arm of a damaged sofa, deconstructed and bound, 30.5 x 18.4 x 80 cm by Poppy Jones-LittleOriginal Source: © Poppy Jones-Little

Over the past four years I have been sifting through various texts which also utilise the word ‘lump’. From Marx’s lumpenproletariat to Virginia Woolf’s short stories, from parenting books to Biblical teachings, from ontology to oncology, a lump transcends disciplines and refuses classification.   

‘Lumphood’ ‘ding an sich- on the surface', 2020, Wood, staples and 3 screws taken from damaged Chesterfield chair, 45 x 15.4 x 16.2 cm by Poppy Jones-LittleOriginal Source: © Poppy Jones-Little

Often understood as an indiscriminate piece of matter, I have come to realise that this term can act as a placeholder; a word that is uttered when the right word cannot be recalled. Lump creeps in without clear intention to denote a non-thing - unstable, uncomfortable, teetering at the edges. 

A lump tends to be without - without recognisable form, without present purpose, without immediate function.

‘Lumphood’ ‘the lump of stuff which makes her up', 2020, Deconstructed towel with image of ripped towel, 59.4 x 104.2 x 131 cm by Poppy Jones-LittleOriginal Source: © Poppy Jones-Little

'the lump of stuff which makes her up’

The ‘lumpenpack’, ‘lumpensammler’ and ‘lumpig’ within the German language allude to refuge and scraps, that which is wretched or worthless. These thoughts fuel my making as the materials utilised are largely ‘waste’. The current climate crisis and ecological emergency reinforced this decision, compelling me to consider how I might produce work without putting strain on our environment.

Certainly both former and current affairs demonstrate the severe ramifications of ‘lumping’ people together, whether on account of race, religion, sexuality etc. The damage caused by promoting generalisations is universally acknowledged, yet it seems that our awareness hardly lessens its presence and impact. My speculative practice aims to draw attention to that which often goes unacknowledged, to give value and attention to ‘lumps’ which are disregarded.

Sasha Napoli

Ultimately, my practice questions whether it is possible to embrace and maintain the inherent qualities of painting whilst combining them with a more sculptural methodology.

FUAM 2020 submission - Sasha Napoli ‘Banana Peel', 2020, Oil on linen with acrylic on paper 163 x24x7cm, clay banana 18x4x4cm. Shown in simulated gallery space by Sasha NapoliOriginal Source: © Sasha Napoli

'Banana Peel'

Beginning with an abstraction of the human form framed by architectural features of an interior space, I question the threshold between the painterly mark and the creation of an entire image. I explore materiality, specifically the application and interaction of paint upon a surface. By manipulating the viscosity and transparency of the paint, mark-making, materiality and complementary colours become the basis of my paintings.   

Thick coats of paint conceal, while light glazes and scratching reveal what is underneath, creating an illusion of depth through layering and drawing attention to the painting’s inherent flatness. 

FUAM 2020 submission - Sasha Napoli Detail of 'Banana Peel', 2020, Oil on linen with acrylic on paper 163 x24x7cm, clay banana 18x4x4cm. Shown in simulated gallery space by Sasha NapoliOriginal Source: © Sasha Napoli

My concern with the painterly mark and interior space is interlaced with an interest in the Baroque fusion of painting and sculpture in ceiling frescoes; sculpture was used to emphasise the illusory nature of painting and extend it beyond a single surface. I take this notion and combine it with an exploration of the contemporary concept of the expanded field of painting, where the idea of pluralism is applied and processes, such as sculpture, are merged with painting. 

FUAM 2020 submission - Sasha Napoli ‘Peep', 2020, Oil paint and oil pastels on linen 60x50cm, 30x30cm, oil on loose canvas 200x100cm. Shown in simulated gallery space by Sasha NapoliOriginal Source: © Sasha Napoli

'Peep'

Inspired by this, I draw on physical processes: I manipulate the shape of the canvas challenging the idea of a painting contained within a rectangular or square frame. I also extract and fragment shapes from the painting and extend them into space with materials such as painted cardboard. 

These physical processes create a partial visual block to the painting, engaging the viewer, and encouraging them to fluctuate between a passive observation of the entire piece and looking through, or walking around these visual blocks to view the painting in detail. My paintings, therefore, extend beyond their frame to inhabit the room as an object. 

Emma Lawrence

Inspired by Richard Serra’s Verb List (1967-68) each of these sculptures represent a single verb; ‘To Expand’, ‘To Squeeze’, ‘To Trace’. The resulting sculptural forms are indicative of how different materials react to certain actions.

FUAM 2020 submission - Emma Lawrence ‘To Expand', 2020, Plaster, 65cm/ 24cm by Emma LawrenceOriginal Source: © Emma Lawrence

'To Expand'

The textured standing work tests the verb ‘To Expand’. These were created by filling calico sacks and balloons with plaster, exploring ideas of contortion and manipulation. 

The plaster alludes to the suppleness of the cloth, creating the impression of softness that obliquely references the body. They seem to defy gravity; this creates an uneasy feeling for the viewer as ideas of tension and balance come into play.  

FUAM 2020 submission - Emma Lawrence ‘To Squeeze', 2020, Plaster and plastic bin liner, 22cm/ 10cm by Emma LawrenceOriginal Source: © Emma Lawrence

'To Squeeze'

My sculptures often employ an anti-form approach, particularly true of the sculpture 'To Squeeze’. 

The texture and form found in these works is determined by the relationship the material has with external influences such as gravity. This body of work explores the relationship between chaos and control.

FUAM 2020 submission - Emma Lawrence ‘To Trace 1', 2020, Plaster, 87cm/ 30cm by Emma LawrenceOriginal Source: © Emma Lawrence

'To Trace'

All of the works embody a frozen moment within the process of creation. This enhances an illusion of fluidity not usually found in solid materials such as plaster. 

When looking at the work 'To Trace' this suppleness has an organic quality that reflects growth structures found in nature, such as a beehive. 

To create these pieces, balls of foam were dipped in plaster and stuck onto a frame. The foam was then burnt using a blow torch, leaving the interior residual form. The outcome points to ideas surrounding repetition, accumulation and memory.

T'Shah Henry

My sculptural forms pervade spaces – they accumulate, mutate and transform whilst also being transformed by their surroundings.

‘Symbiotic Systems', 2020, Wall mounted photographs (from left to right): 'Emergence I', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm; 'Emergence II', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.1cm; 'Emergence III', Dimensions: 89.1 x 59.4 cm; 'Emergence IV', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.8cm; 'Emergence V', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm. Floor Sculpture: 'Mycelimite/s'Jute rope, galvanized steel wire, plaster coated fibres, 200 x 200 x 75cm approx. (dimensions variable, dependent on site, individual pieces vary from 12 – 75cm in height). ‘Symbiotic Systems', 2020, Wall mounted photographs (from left to right): 'Emergence I', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm; 'Emergence II', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.1cm; 'Emergence III', Dimensions: 89.1 x 59.4 cm; 'Emergence IV', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.8cm; 'Emergence V', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm. Floor Sculpture: 'Mycelimite/s'Jute rope, galvanized steel wire, plaster coated fibres, 200 x 200 x 75cm approx. (dimensions variable, dependent on site, individual pieces vary from 12 – 75cm in height). (2020) by T’Shah HenryOriginal Source: © T’Shah Henry

'Symbiotic Systems'

'Symbiotic Systems' is a collection of work which incorporates the sculptures Mycelimite/s alongside the photographs, Emergence I, II, III, IV, V .

The form of Mycelimite/s stems from the concept of the intimate symbiotic relationship between mycelium and root systems, alongside studies of their growth structures which form expansive networks beneath the ground.    

In a continual process of mutation and accumulation the sculptures also take on human and animalistic characteristics held in a state of liminality, teetering on the edge of becoming ‘other’. 

‘Symbiotic Systems', 2020, Wall mounted photographs (from left to right): 'Emergence I', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm; 'Emergence II', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.1cm; 'Emergence III', Dimensions: 89.1 x 59.4 cm; 'Emergence IV', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.8cm; 'Emergence V', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm. Floor Sculpture: 'Mycelimite/s'Jute rope, galvanized steel wire, plaster coated fibres, 200 x 200 x 75cm approx. (dimensions variable, dependent on site, individual pieces vary from 12 – 75cm in height). ‘Emergence V' (Series: 'Symbiotic Systems'), 2020, Digital Image, envisioned dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm by T’Shah HenryOriginal Source: © T’Shah Henry

'Emergence V'

I consider ‘touch points’ as nodes through which exchanges take place and networks are formed resulting in a unity which provides strength.

I invite the audience to consider our place in nature, the intimate exchanges we share with the natural world and ideas of interconnectedness in a digitally dominated culture.

‘Symbiotic Systems', 2020, Wall mounted photographs (from left to right): 'Emergence I', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm; 'Emergence II', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.1cm; 'Emergence III', Dimensions: 89.1 x 59.4 cm; 'Emergence IV', Dimensions: 59.4 x 89.8cm; 'Emergence V', Dimensions: 125 x 187.5cm. Floor Sculpture: 'Mycelimite/s'Jute rope, galvanized steel wire, plaster coated fibres, 200 x 200 x 75cm approx. (dimensions variable, dependent on site, individual pieces vary from 12 – 75cm in height). ‘Then' (Series: 'Becoming Other'), 2020, Digital Image, envisioned dimensions: 36.17 x 54.25cm by T’Shah HenryOriginal Source: © T’Shah Henry

'Then'


'Then' is a photographic image that focuses our attention on a wearable sculpture. This work adapts to its surroundings, avoiding the label of humanistic, animalistic or vegetative.  
Throughout this body of work I consider the rich interplay between what is happening both below the ground and above;

inside of the body and outside; and the liminal space between where exchanges transpire; whilst continually bringing this back to the individual within the wider unified group. 

Credits: Story

Artist statements and artworks by: 

Poppy Jones-Little
Sasha Napoli
T’Shah Henry  
Emma Lawrence  
  

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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