Sunday, 26 April 2009

Catlin Art Prize

The six art graduates shortlisted for the 3rd Catlin Art Prize have been named: Mikael Alacoque, William Bradley, Sarah Lederman, Tim Phillips, Jia Jia Wang, Freya Wright. The prize claims to showcase "the very best art school graduates one year on from their degree exhibitions". I'd hate to see the worst! The one who stands out from the rest is Mikael Alacoque, who seems to be a poor man's Damien Hirst. He creates monsters with dog's bodies, human skulls for heads and ice cream cones for horns, Mitty shown. Outstanding silliness, rather than outstanding quality. As for the rest, click the title link and despair! The winner will be announced on 19 May and receive £3,000. The Catlin Prize Showcase Exhibition runs from 20 to 24 May at The Village Underground, Shoreditch, London. Don't all rush at once.


At 6/5/09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,I'm really suprised that the Catlin prize warrents such a hostile response. Freya Wright was shortlisted for this years New Contemporaries and William Bradley was the stand out star of Future Map 08. I would have to assume that the writer of this was not selected?

At 7/5/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

No, it's not sour grapes. I object to twerps selecting and rewarding gimmicky rubbish and calling it "art". Surely UK art schools must have produced some decent graduates last year.

Search my blog for Shane Wolf, a genuinely talented young artist who graduated from the Angel Academy of Art in Florence last year. In 2006 he won an ARC Scholarship Award. I've featured him twice on my blog. Even in low-grade thumbnail graphics, his work is sublime.

This is the quality I expect to see from art graduates worthy of winning awards. Anything less is a con.

At 9/5/09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm...I searched for Shane Wolf and was thoroughly disappointed. You seem to have a love affair with a romantisised vision of the "traditional" arts i.e. quality/worth = artistic labour time + level of "realism" (hence your continual use of the word "sublime" in your blog). I have no problem with your own subjective stylistic preference, be it contrary to mine, but please, if you are going to deride other artists, do so with an attempt to quantify.

I actually do agree with the Damien Hirst association/reference...the notion of the gimmick (perhaps the wrong word though) is intrinsic to the nature of the work, though in istelf perhaps doesnt offer an extensive critique of this as his work is complicit in joining the art commodity system. I fail to see how the word "gimmicky" can be applied to any of the other artists though. Looking at the work on the website, the majority seem fairly process-weighted in their manufacture, particularly Tim Phillips. Besides, I think its only fair to reserve judgment until I've (and you!) have actually seen these works installed and on show...not through the medium of the internet!

And yes, UK art schools have produced many good students last year, all over the UK, I would suggest you go to some more shows and look less at the big art prizes as all encompassing markers of the condition of the art world.

At 10/5/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

I'm glad we agree on the Damien Hirst reference.

I hope UK art schools are turning out some good graduates - I've seen some interesting stuff from Loughborough -, but it's the daft things that get most of the awards and all of the media attention.

I totally disagree about Shane. He is a top-flight young artist, in the traditional style I'll accept, but what's wrong with that? It takes talent to win an ARC scholarship. I can't see that it takes any talent to win the Catlin Prize, judging by the short list. Okay, thumbnails aren't the best way to view art, but they can give a good hint as to quality, and I saw nothing to hold my attention, let alone to wow me.

Very disappointing.

At 12/5/09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with the traditional style, and indeed it is another form of what is now a huge array of artistic practice.

I saw the Nottingham degree show last year and really enjoyed it, more so than the "bigger" colleges in London...and as well all know, art education has become a hugely commercial operation making it perhaps harder to sort the good from bad. Again, the commercial aspect / sponsorphip of awards is I guess where the problem lies. There are many artists that get "quieter" funding from the Arts Council, AHRC etc who are genuinely working on engaging and exciting projects...without any press.

Talent these days is a highly arguable concept, just look at such awful programmes as "Britains Got Talent"...but I think in the end (or perhaps I hope!), the better work does shine through. The Catlin represents a showcase of very young artists, so we'll see were they are in 10 years!

At 13/5/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

I think the big art colleges in London are all trying to produce the next media "star", like Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin, and have lost sight of art. I get really tired of seeing art graduates displaying a pile of cardboard boxes and calling it "sculpture"!

I agree that art has spread its wings far beyond the traditional fields. If you follow my blog, you'll see I cover computer graphics, ice sculpture, body painting and all sorts of things. I'm a great fan of Nick Parks, whose animated sculptures Wallace and Gromit are world famous.

Have a look at the slide show of Arabella Dorman's art I posted a short while ago. She's a young artist making a name for herself. Her war pictures are tough, gritty, unromanticized, yet beautiful too.

At 22/5/09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended this on Tuesday evening. In my opinion the majority of the work is superb, especially the large William Bradley paintings at the far end of the (fantastic) space. I'm also a newly converted fan of Freya Wright's work. I'm surprised that there is so much criticism here for what is quite clearly a very worthwhile prize and a great opportunity for young artists to raise their profiles. I wonder if the author of the original post has actually seen the exhibition 'in the flesh'?

At 22/5/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the show. No, I didn't go. I tend to shop online for art to post on my blog. I'd have to zoom all round the world to cover everything I write about, from Alaska (ice sculpture) to Austria (body painting). I covered the Archibald People's Choice Prize, which is about as far away as you can get without help from Hubble. Nothing on the Catlin website even suggested a visit would be worthwhile. Bad presentation or bad art? (I give my own award for website design. If more people applied for it, there might be fewer website designers wasting their time.)

At 28/12/09, Anonymous Omar said...

I hope you don't censor the proceeding comment Coxsoft because it wont, I imagine, sit very well with you.

I fail to see why you even mention The Catlin Guide because it clearly is lost on you. I imagine you just like to have an enemy, namely modern art.

your discourse with 'anonymous' is like two people arguing about a building, one being a model maker and the other being an architect.

The kind of art you regard as 'sublime' is a different species altogether than modern art. When I say modern, I refer chiefly to conceptual art.

I write for the polemic London-based arts paper called The Jackdaw and believe me I too have my own grievances. I think Hirst is a charlatan and I also think it is time he abdicated his throne.

AS a recent graduate myself I am all too aware of the pseudo-intellectual bullshit that spouts from the mouths of our eager young artists. They are too weak willed to resist. They think that they have to talk the talk to be accepted and to a great extent they do, unless they want to sell work at commercial galleries and framers with aspirations of the gallery.

I am one of the 40 selected artists for the Catlin Guide 2010 and have an enormous belief in myself. My work so far has been widely accepted by art-lovers from all facets of 'the art world'.

Have a look at my blog and see what you think? There are no realist paintings which seems to be your penchant so I don't know what you will think.

To suggest that we are trying to 'con' (to quote you) is ridiculous and critically unsubstantiated. Instead it is merely your opinion.

The vast majority of my buyers, patrons, fans, followers and viewers derive enjoyment and if you feel conned by current and critically acclaimed art...........well perhaps that says more about you than it does modern art.

At 28/12/09, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Hi, Omar

I reject very few comments. The last one was from an Aussie who referred to me as some f***ing Pommie w***er. He got the bum's rush. This blog isn't a forum for obscene insults.

I did visit your blog. You may be interested to know what I inferred from it. You have pretentions to becoming a professional artist, but haven't succeeded yet. My inference may be wrong. You may be making a living as an artist, but that isn't what your blog tells me.

Take a look at two very different websites by professional artists of long standing. They have been doing for many years what Charles Saatchi admits is extremely difficult: earning a living from their art.

Michael Halbert is an American scraperboard artist. (Ever heard of that art medium?)

Les Edwards is a British artist whose work you may have seen on movie posters and book covers.

Both artists have been featured a number of times on my blog.

Try to leave your ego behind when you visit these websites, also your preconceived notions of what art is or isn't. Consider that your contemporaries at art school who thought you a "tosser" may have been right! (Two more things I inferred from your blog is that you're on an ego trip and know very little about art. I don't write this to insult you, but to warn you how others may see you.)

Phrases such as "conceptual art" irritate me, because they are pretentious bullshit: the blind leading the blind. The rooms of my house are as muddled as yours are, but I wouldn't dream of calling them "art". They are simply a mess.

Your comment is out of date with regard to Moneybags Hirst. I've been criticizing him for years, while he was still considered one of the world's most influential artists. This year his reputation slumped. I don't think he's even in the top 100 now. So I was ahead of the pack on that one, despite accusations that I prefer old-fashioned figurative paintings.

That accusation irritates me, because it shows that my accuser hasn't bothered to read my blog. Take a look at this week's posts. There are only two which feature paintings, both newsworthy. Computer aided graphics have featured prominently with posts on Avatar and The Day Of The Triffids. That's where the future of art is to be found, but I'll bet your art tutors in their little ivory towers never even mentioned computer aided design.

Try to forget the rubbish your tutors taught you. I wish you good luck in your career.


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