The winner of this year’s Northern Art Prize is Margaret Harrison. She also takes the People’s Choice Prize and is only the second person in the event’s history to win both. The winner was chosen from a shortlist of four: Margaret Harrison, Rosalind Nashashibi, Emily Speed, Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan. Ms Harrison received £16,500 in prize money, with the other shortlisted artists receiving £1,500 each at a ceremony at Leeds Art Gallery. The judges of this year’s prize were James Lingwood (Co-Director, Artangel), Jennifer Higgie (Co-Editor, Frieze), Margot Heller (Director, South London Gallery), Tomma Abts (Artist) and Sarah Brown (Curator of Exhibitions, Leeds Art Gallery).
Margaret Harrison, nominated by Kate Brindley, Director MIMA, created a new series of work entitled ‘Reflect’ especially for the Northern Art Prize. The installation brings together sculpture, painting and drawings. ‘Common Reflections’ is a reconstruction and reinterpretation of a perimeter fence from RAF Greenham Common. The installation presents the occupation of a site adjacent to the base where, in 1981, women set up a legendary peace camp to protest against the nuclear weapons located there. ‘The Last Gaze’ is a new painting based upon Waterhouse’s famous ‘Lady of Shalott,’ ‘The Last Gaze’ repeats the motif of reflection, pairing the image in both colour and black and white. On the adjacent wall rear-view car mirrors reflect Harrison’s painting, and offer a contemporary restaging of this idea of viewing the world only through conflicting or confusing perceptions.
Nominated by Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial, Rosalind Nashashibi’s film ‘Lovely Young People (Beautiful Supple Bodies)’ was made with Scottish Ballet. The compelling film projection features dancers, engrossed in private rehearsal when members of the local public walk in and stand awkwardly around them. ‘A New Youth’ includes a tree displaying a photograph of a denim-clad crotch of indeterminate sex, and a large cartoon illustration of Mickey Mouse’s hands in a familiar Buddha gesture. This work echoes an earlier installation made by Nashashibi during the revolutionary uprising in Cairo reflecting on the role of male youth in a post ‘Arab Spring’ world. Nashashibi’s new print work locates masculinity in a particularly literal place. ‘Monster Walk’ comprises nine unique prints on paper, made by putting men’s jeans and underwear through a printing press, leaving the paper inked and in places worn through with the stamp of every stitch and crease of the fabric.
Emily Speed, also nominated by Sally Tallant, is interested in the relationship between people and buildings. Her work explores the body and its relationship to architecture. For the Northern Art Prize exhibition, she created a new work that includes wooden structures, drawings, costumes and molded architectural models. Speed draws upon early Italian paintings that feature unstable and awkward looking architecture that is often scaled around the human body and has a fragility and flimsiness.
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, nominated by Gavin Wade, Director Eastside Projects and Kirsteen Macdonald, Curator, Glasgow, have worked collaboratively since 1995, making images, sculptural objects and installations that pose questions as to how we understand art. ‘The Reiterative Grimace’ brings together two painted temporary structures framing the entrances to two interior galleries, one a home to part of the Leeds collection of 19th century Art, the other an entrance to the temporary exhibition spaces. These large painted ‘portals’ highlight pivotal points at which the historic collection meets spaces in the Gallery used for temporary exhibitions.
Margaret Harrison Currently Has an exhibition running at Payne Shurvell Gallery, London