Gray’s painter shortlisted for major art prize
A Gray’s School of Art graduate is among just ten up and coming artists from across the UK to have been shortlisted for a major national art prize run by Northumbria University, Newcastle.
Catherine Ross (22), who graduated in July 2014 with First Class Honours in Painting, is in the running for the second annual Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize which was launched by Northumbria law graduate and philanthropist Wee Teng Woon in 2012.
The competition, which gives final year Fine Art students throughout the UK the chance to win £40,000 in prizes, is equal in value to Britain’s biggest art award, the Turner Prize. The shortlisted artists were selected from art Schools and universities across the country and their art work encompasses a wide range of themes and mediums, including Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Collage and Animation.
Born in the rural town of Yellowknife in Northwest Canada before relocating with her family to Westhill in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Catherine has found her work over the past two years driven by an attempt to capture the anchored feelings that she has towards her birthplace. “I wanted to materialise objects and images that could communicate this personal attachment I have towards far northern places,” she explained. “I also painted to impress the powerful feeling of absence that I feel the ‘North’ as a place holds. “I think that my work is about the way we wish ourselves away at times – that desire for adventure or to explore places. As a child, I wished to venture out into the wilderness, and I still have that instinct as an adult. I have not been back to Yellowknife since infancy, and suspect that is partly the reason for those feelings.”
Catherine, who was named as the winner of this year’s BP Fine Art Award at the 2014 Gray’s Degree Show, added: “Being shortlisted for this prize is a huge opportunity and I was extremely taken aback when I learned I was a finalist. It has been a very busy few months, as a lot of things seemed to come together at the same time. I’m very excited about the future.” Head of Painting at Gray’s, Keith Grant, said: “Catherine has worked extremely hard over the last year and thoroughly deserves her place on the shortlist for the Woon Foundation Art Prize. Her Degree Show exhibition displayed a combination of ambition, sophistication and maturity that is rare to find in an undergraduate Painting student and was greatly admired by everyone who saw it.
“The Painting Department at Gray’s believes implicitly in the discrete study of Drawing and Painting and I think that Catherine, and her work, is a perfect exponent of that philosophy. I wish her well with both the competition and her future career.” Art work by the ten finalists is currently on exhibition in Northumbria University’s Gallery North, Sandyford Road until September 19. They will be judged at the end of this month, with the winners being announced on September 16.
The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize was established to provide opportunities for students to develop their fine art practice, offering direct links with the cultural sector through Northumbria’s partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. First prize, the Woon Tai Jee Memorial Prize, is named after Mr Woon’s late father and earns the recipient a £20,000 bursary, use of the Woon Tai Jee studio space in the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39 and mentoring from Baltic Professor and Turner Prize-nominated artist Christine Borland. The second prize, worth £9,000 is named after Mr Woon’s late mother Lim Ai Fang, and the third, worth £6,000, is named after his father’s late second wife Cheong Kam Hee. Judges can bestow additional consolation prizes worth a total of £5,000.
For more information about The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize, visit Woonartprize.
Notes to editors
The finalists are:
Ana Gold, Central St Martins;
Anna Hughes, Dundee School of Art;
Catherine Ross, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen;
Eleni Odysseos, University of Leeds;
Emilie Atkinson, Slade School of Fine Art, University College London;
Emily Motto, Ruskin School, Oxford University;
Helen McCartney, University of Sunderland;
Lisa Evans, Coleg Sir Gar, School of Creative Arts;
Ramona Zoladek, Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge University; and
Sam Baker, Kingston University