Neil Raitt has been announced as the 2014 winner of the Catlin Art Prize. He takes home the £5,000 prize for a new body of work, which includes large-scale paintings influenced by the American landscape artist and television host, Bob Ross.
Neil’s paintings make use of pattern and skewed perspective to meld distinct symbols of nature into mazes of abstraction. A trellis backdrop, spray-painted using a stencil, enhances the theme of repetition, while a giant three-dimensional ‘Magic Tree’ air freshener, coated in a fragrant sap green paint, is a droll nod to his paintings of alpine mountain ranges.
The independent panel of judges – Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger, art critic and writer Coline Milliard, and gallery director and curator Will Jarvis – commended the rest of the finalists for what they described as a refreshingly varied and committed collection.
Turner Prize winning Judge Mark Wallinger commented: “We were all immediately struck by the effectiveness of Neil’s work. It needs no mediation, directly addressing the viewer and achieving what it sets out to do. There is nothing superfluous. It is spare, determined, accomplished and knowing. Easy to look at but with a hypnotic depth, its apparent simplicity belies a painstaking technique and quiet maturity”.
Leicester born Raitt, said: “This is so unexpected I don’t really know what to say. The whole experience has been amazing, and I’m excited about the future. I’d like to thank Justin and the whole Catlin team as well as my fellow finalists. I’ve learnt so much and winning will give me a chance to secure my studio and start working on my next exhibition.”
Visitors to the Catlin Art Prize exhibition selected their favourite artist as part of the Visitor Vote. Over two thousand votes were cast via the Art Catlin website and a ballot box at the venue. Lara Morrell was named the winner of the visitor vote in an extremely close-run contest and takes away the £2,000 prize.
The exhibition remains open to the public until 6pm on Saturday May 24th at the Londonewcastle Project Space, London. The Catlin Art Prize, curated by Justin Hammond, provides a platform for the most promising art graduates in the UK. Participating artists are selected from The Catlin Guide 2014, a nationwide survey of recent art school graduates, now widely recognised as the essential reference for collectors of emerging artists.
The Catlin Art Prize 2014 finalists are: Mr. & Mrs. Philip Cath (Goldsmiths), Sarah Fortais (Central Saint Martins), Virgile Ittah (Royal College of Art), Lara Morrell (Central Saint Martins), Neil Raitt
(Royal College of Art), Dennis J. Reinmüller (Edinburgh College of Art), and Jakob Rowlinson (The
Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art).
As title sponsors of the Catlin Art Prize, Catlin – one of the world’s leading insurers of fine art – continues to help realise the ambitions of promising new artists.