The 22 year old was presented with the award at Modern Art Oxford by artist Lindsay Seers for her work – a series of intense paintings that explore the mind as a channel for restructuring the concept of space.Joella Wheatley’s intense paintings explore the mind as a channel for restructuring the concept of space. Using the combination of drawing and painting as a springboard for invention, she challenges the boundaries of a first-hand experience by containing herself within an actual physical space for a certain amount of time. This drastically reduces the amount of normal social interaction, of reasonable mental stimulus of exposure to the natural world, where almost everything that makes life human and bearable is emotionally, physically and psychologically removed. When the things that our brain and body rely on to connect to and understand are taken away from us, this denies us the ability to ask questions and seek reasons for explanations that allow us to understand ourselves. Joella challenges the concept that a space is only defined by what you believe it to be.
Victoria Pomery, Acting Chair of Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) South East and Director, Turner Contemporary said; ‘We look forward to seeing how Joella will build on this opportunity in her future career. CVAN South East would like to see Platform continue to develop closer working relationships between South East galleries and their local Higher Education institutions while providing opportunities to support and showcase new talent.’
Wheatley was one of eight graduate artists shortlisted as part of the Platform Graduate Award 2012 – an inaugural mentor programme devised by the CVAN South East network, between galleries and emerging artists from the South East. Platform Award selection panel member and Director of MK Gallery, Anthony Spira said the standard of work throughout the Platform project had been particularly high, highlighting the wealth of Fine Art talent in the South East.
Over the last few months four flagship galleries, Aspex, MK Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and Turner Contemporary, have each provided a platform for 31 recent graduates from each of their local art colleges, of which eight were shortlisted for the award. Wheatley will receive a 12-month tailored programme of professional development from the four South East art galleries as well as £2,500 bursary towards further development of her practice. Platform Graduate Award: This project has brought together the professional expertise of both the higher education and public gallery sectors for the benefit of young artists.With support from tutors and course leaders, teams of curators and education specialists from the four participating galleries attended local Summer degree shows, each selecting a handful of promising graduates for inclusion in their Platform exhibitions. These have been taking place over the past few months with each selected artist being given the opportunity to work with professional teams during the installation and production of their shows. All mediums were considered and each have shown the rich variety and quality of work being produced by our next generation of artists in the South East.