Peterborough Prize

21st June - 22nd August 2003
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

Below is the copy from the exhibition catalogue, we have a very large pdf of the printed version of this document. Please email us if you would like a copy.

This years Peterborough Prize has attracted more entrants than ever before. I would like to thank the artist Erica Tan, Michael Stanley, curator of the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and Andrew Chetty, an independent arts production consultant, who were given the task of making this years final selection.

The work that is being exhibited provides a snapshot of the vibrant arts scene that exists in this country today. As is often the case with open competitions, the nature of the work is somewhat diverse, themes do however emerge. More work than ever this year is digital in nature yet much of it takes painting as its starting point.

In fact, we have several artists who seem to be seeking to re-define notions of landscape painting. Jeremy Gardiner creates three-dimensional abstractions that are imbued with a sense of landscape. Jane Prophet uses technology to deconstruct traditional notions of the genre and literally strips bare these spaces. Environments so often perceived as natural are revealed in their true, man-made form. Bo Droga's work takes a similar approach by digitally augmenting the built environment he questions our relationship with nature.

Other artists in the show play with landscape, Philip Duckworth and Joanne Jones create their own worlds, taking photographs of models, and then displaying them so as to suggest that they might be documents of real places. Rory MacBeth uses the urban landscape and brings to our attention the throwaway nature of the society in which we live by spray painting burnt out vehicles dumped at the side of the road. Daniel Wallis paints and repaints similar scenes from cities he has only ever witnessed through photographs and each time a different experience of the urban is created.

Several of the artists in this year's show take a more traditional approach but subtly subvert with their technique. Miranda Whall creates complex drawn work, reminiscent of lace making, which on close inspection reveals a startling subject matter. Soju Tao's work might seem naive, almost childlike, yet his approach is highly sophisticated, consisting of many re-workings of his found canvases. Myfanwy Johns extends the craft of fine art print making into the digital arena by using a computer to scrutinise structure at the micro level. Asnat Austerlitz's light touch creates works that exist almost as ghosts of their original subject matter.

So while general themes seem to emerge, there is still plenty of variety in the work on display and some of it is less easily categorised. Let's not forget Elizabeth LeMoines animations that have there own personal sense of structure and narrative.

The Peterborough Prize is a purchase prize, and a work or works by the winning artist will become part of the permanent collection at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. The winning artist will be selected by public vote and will be announced by the Mayor of the City of Peterborough on Sunday 13th July.

Asnat Austerlitz is an Israeli artist currently pursuing a Masters at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She has also studied at Hadassah College, Jerusalem and the International Centre of Photography, New York. She has had solo exhibitions at the Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv and the Gallery of Beit Bril College, School of Art.

Over the past few years she has been interested in the idea of sport as an emblem. This interest stems from her background. Austerlitz was a dancer and athlete in her teenage years, and has developed in recent years a critical examination of sport and athletics as a metaphor for the violence of humankind. Skinny deals with perceptions of the female body through images of female runners bodies, captured just before they start to race.

Currently Bo Droga lives in London, 'Concrete Landscapes' at Saatchi & Saatchi head office, was his first solo exhibition in the capital. It was followed by a group exhibition at Britart, 'Beauty is what you make it'. Droga has strengthened his involvement in numerous group and solo exhibitions and was finalist at two international art shows. Apart from his public works Droga has also been selected for several private and corporate commissions.

His works 'Concrete Landscapes' play with the conceptual idea of irony and "trompe l'oeil" to challenge unattractive and dysfunctional public sites and environments. He has long been fascinated by the contrasts of rural and suburban landscapes and has injected these works with a simple surrealist humour to provoke thoughts.

By using technology he has been able to transform a simple idea into a powerful visual statement. 'Concrete Landscapes' betray the visual irony of our environmental planning. He has digitally transformed the stanchions of the Bridge into a giant domino formation. The bridge transforms itself into a memorial to human beings and their continual and vain attempts to conquer nature.

Philip Duckworth was born in Isleohne, Germany in 1976. Joanne Jones was born in Cheshire, UK in 1977. They live and work in Birmingham, UK. Along with their solo practice, they work collaboratively together.

The installation, a mock up of an artic base camp incorporating ephemeral objects and photographic images, sound and video, reflects facets of the artic landscape. On first inspection, the work appears to be images of vast snowy vistas, tundra and artic wastes. Closer inspection reveals that the artists have simulated these pictures by photographing model landscapes. Photographic images of the surface of ice sheets merge with views of barren plains. The sound of the steppes and forests are reproduced in audio tracks, carefully constructed by the artists from recordings of their voices, and processed to simulate the sound of icy gales and forest clearings.

Jeremy Gardiner is Professor of Digital Arts, at the London College of Music and Media. He has in the past also held the title of Harkness Fellow, Visible Language Workshop, Media Lab, MIT, Boston. Jeremy has exhibited internationally, for over twenty years at institutes such as Centro Cultural Candido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, ICA, and Deluxe Gallery, London.

Purbeck Light Years is a three dimensional temporal arena which evokes a calm, receptive state of mind, a mixture of both old and new, hybrid techniques that combine characteristics of painting and drawing, computer animation and immersive VR.Ê Inside this virtual space is re-imagined a whole world, a topographical landscape modelled in three dimensions, silent and secret, a place of accumulated history.

The graphics of Purbeck Light Years help capture the imagination by creating an ambiguous and subtle world where the atmosphere is luminous and the space three-dimensional. The colour we see in the environment represents the scattering, refraction and diffraction of sunlight by particles in the atmosphere. Weather systems come and go, night follows day and seasons change in real time. The use of imagery and ambient sound brings awareness of the changes brought about by season, time and weather and the effect they have on the appearance of landscape and the surrounding atmosphere.

Myfanwy Johns is currently carrying out PhD Research in computer generated images & digital print at The University of Gloucestershire. She has an MA in Visual Communication from U.C.E. Birmingham and an MA in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University. She has exhibited internationally, has been granted several awards and has work in major collections including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Walsall Museum & Art Gallery.
Johns is interested in creating a synthesis between digital technologies, painting and traditional print. The content of her imagery takes its starting point from the investigative nature of the computer i.e. its ability to present the inner structure of an image, reveal by magnification that which is usually unseen by the human eye.These images come from representations of natural and architectural form. This is where she sees her work as being analogous to 'musique concrete' where natural sound is processed through electronic media.

The action of repetition so essential to Fine Art printmaking is augmented through using the computer to modify and manipulate images from the macro to the micro scale.Ê Dynamics of scale also enables the imagery to be printed over extensive and diverse surfaces, allowing the emphasis to shift from 'mass production' to 'mass customisation'

Elizabeth LeMoine was born in Toronto, Canada, and lives and works in London. Originally a theatrical costume maker, she gained her first degree in fine art in 1989 and an MA in fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London in 1995. She has exhibited Internationally, has won the Governor General of Canada Bronze Medal and has been nominated for the ICA Becks Futures award.
Primarily a sculptor, 'That shadow...' is LeMoines first film, inspired by a residency at Sadlers Wells Theatre London. She recalled years as a costume maker and reflected on things that preoccupy her, like colonial identity, modern romance, underdogs, and an event current that year.

She works spontaneously, using ordinary materials and tools. When approaching animation, she imagined using super-8, but that technology is now out of date and difficult. She decided instead to use today's technology: digital camera and computer. She shot the animation frame by frame with a digital stills camera then used multimedia software to string individual images together into moving images.

Rory MacBeth's work often uses the mechanics of painting to unpick and question itself, and to play with the expectations of painting. Predominantly this has been through exploring mimesis, the painted surface and blocking function, often through inappropriately forcing three-dimensionality onto a two dimensional medium.

The work in the show consists of abandoned burned-out vehicles that have been meticulously re-sprayed their original colour, but all over including tyres, windscreens, engines, interiors etc. The work exists as both object and photograph.

Jane Prophet graduated in Fine Art from Sheffield Hallam University in 1987 and completed a PhD at Warwick University in 1995. Among her past projects is the award-winning website, TechnoSphere.

The Landscape Room makes reference to the room of the same name at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk where 17th Century landscapes are displayed against crimson damask walls. The work comprises of six large format digital images based on photographs of the grounds. The Red Books of East Anglian landscape designer Humphry Repton (1752 - 1818) also influenced the work.

The artists worked with Stevie Bezencenet and Gill Oliver to take medium format photographs. Gordon Selley wrote mathematical computer code used toÊ 'grow' the simulated versions of the landscapes on a computer.These 3D landscapes were rendered in wire-line to show the underlying geometry and then fully textured and made photo-realistic. The artist then used a paint package to combine the computer-generated landscapes with the photographic versions. These were digitally printed using a lightjet printer.

The picturesque gardens produced by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, often involved moving huge amounts of earth and creating artificial lakes in order to realise their vision of the ideal landscape. At Holkham Hall an entire hill and a large lake were constructed. The seemingly natural evolution of the land is revealed as having been tightly controlled by a team of skilled landscape designers, gardeners and grounds staff.

Born in Japan Soju Tao has a BA in Painting from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and is currently studying an MFA in painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. He has exhibited at the Great Eastern Hotel, London and has work in the Ernst and Young Collection.

Tao works generally with recycled canvas and found objects, finding inspiration in the remnants of their previous life. When met with a blank surface he starts by breaking down the pristine quality of that surface, creating disorder and gradually setting down images in very diverse layers, later rubbing back to rediscover earlier layers and previous impulses. Working in acrylic, oil and mixed media - from gaffer tape to drinking straws. His work provides a link to memory, a way of cracking the safe to find his own internal life, which lends a naive, playful element to the work.

After Graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art in 2001, Daniel Wallis took part in 'Mint', an artist led show at a venue in central London that he helped transform into a temporary Art space. The success of the work he exhibited led to an invitation from Tate Britain to be part of the opening events of their Centenary Development, along with five other artists including Antony Gormley, Sam Taylor-Wood and Damien Hirst. Daniel has also taken part in the 'So Fun' day of workshops for school children from across London.

Wallis works directly from photographs of cities, many of which he has never physically been to, yet through drawing he begins to know well. As the pen travels across the canvas it reveals the city by mapping out a path through the streets. Wallis will often work from the same image again and again, but each time the line taken is completely different - it guides as much as it is steered. The journey is not just about leaving a trail, but of the time it took and the spaces it left.

Miranda Whall completed a post-graduate Degree in sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in 1996. She was subsequently awarded an ACVA first Base Award and RSBS fellowship. She has exhibited in Canada, Holland and this country. She was also awarded a London Arts Development Grant for visual arts in 2003. Her current projects include a Residency at Grizedale and a collaboration with members of the Lace Guild.

Whall's Work creates a unique context to represent a relationship between femininity, nature and the wider external environment. Self portraits absorbed in celebrations of bodily functions and pleasures are placed alongside photographed and collected images of things.

The drawn images are arranged, repeated and rotated digitally to form a seemingly indiscriminate non-hierarchical scenario creating unlikely and intimate fantasies.

The content of the work is staged within the order of pattern so that the images are both implicit and explicit, caught within something that disguises and reveals its implications. The pattern is upset by its own illicit detail so what appears as delicate is crude, and as innocent is rude.

Giles Askham

Press Release

and the winner was...

Peterborough Prize
21st June - 22nd August 2003
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

This years £5,000 Peterborough Prize was won by Jeremy Gardiner.

Jeremy’s work entitled 'Purbeck Light Years' is an interactive digital installation, using virtual reality technology to combine characteristics of painting, drawing and computer animation.and is the first digital piece to win the coveted prize in its four year history. Jeremy is delighted to have won and is thrilled that the public has chosen his work ahead of some excellent competition. “It is a great honour to win the Peterborough Prize and very important to be participating in an exhibition at a Museum and Art Gallery that has put digital arts firmly on the agenda.” the artist said today.

The work will now be purchased for the permanent collection at the Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. Jeremy has also kindly offered to donate to the collection one of the original paintings, which formed the basis of the work.

Jeremy Gardiner is Professor of Digital Arts at the London College of Music and Media. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, and former Harkness fellow of the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests are in immersive imaging. Recent projects include the Virtual Gallery of the British National Childrens Art Competition, supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation and launched at Tate Modern, London. Purbeck Light Years opens at the Lighthouse, Poole in September 2003.

We are currently seeking sponsorship to enable us to run this very popular competition again in the future. Artists selected for this years exhibition were:

Asnat Austerlitz
Bo Droga
Philip Duckworth and Joanne Jones
Jeremy Gardiner
Myfanwy Johns
Elizabeth LeMoine
Rory MacBeth's
Jane Prophet
Soju Tao
Daniel Wallis
Miranda Whall