CBE for Gillian Ayres, one of Britain’s finest and most original abstract artists and OBE for Ceramacist Edmund De Waal
The artist Sam Taylor-Wood famous her photographs and films that examine, highly charged scenarios, depicting our shared social and psychological conditions, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours. The 44-year-old from Croydon described it as an “incredible honour”
Taylor-Wood has been a Turner prize nominee, but lately has turned her talents to commercial filmmaking.She recently had success with Nowhere Boy a bio-pic about Beatle, John Lennon’s early life. Her installations include a National Portrait Gallery commissioned piece in which she filmed David Beckham asleep. She is also noted for her photo images of people floating in mid air and her Crying Men series, showing a number of Hollywood stars in tears.In the 2004 work, the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Tim Roth, Woody Harrelson, Michael Gambon, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr and Paul Newman were photographed after Taylor-Wood got them to perform and cry for the camera. She has stated,”It’s very gratifying for an artist to get recognition at this level.”She won the Most Promising Artist Award at the Venice Biennale in 1997 but she lost out to Chris Ofili when she was shortlisted for the Turner the following year.
Born South London in 1967, Taylor-Wood spent some of her childhood on a commune in East Sussex and graduated from Goldsmiths College in1990. Taylor-Wood’s work examines the split between being and appearance, often placing her human subjects – either singly or in groups – in situations where the line between interior and external sense of self is in conflict. Her languid and silent film portrait of David Beckham, for example, which was shot in a single take, offers a serene alternative to this most intensively photographed celebrity. In Prelude in Air (2006) Taylor-Wood filmed a musician playing a piece of cello music by Bach, but the cello itself has been erased. Likewise, in Breach (Girl and Eunuch) (2001), a girl is portrayed sitting on the floor in the throes of grief, but the sound of her tears has been removed. In the celebrated film Still Life (2001), an impossibly beautiful bowl of fruit decays at an accelerated pace, creating a visceral memento mori. Taylor-Wood has also explored notions of weight and gravity in elegiac, poised photographs and films such as Ascension (2003) and a series of self-portraits (Self Portrait Suspended I – VIII) that depict the artist floating in mid air without the aid of any visible support. In her film The Last Century (2006), what appears to be a static image of a group of people slowly reveals itself to be a real, filmed take, timed to the length of a burning cigarette: the film is entirely static apart from the involuntary blinking, twitching and barely-visible breathing of four motionless actors, all arranged around a central figure as if in a group portrait painted by Rembrandt or Caravaggio. Recently, Taylor-Wood directed her first narrative short film, Love You More (2008), with a script by Patrick Marber.
Sam Taylor-Wood was born in London in 1967 and has had numerous group and solo exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (1997) and The Turner Prize (1998). Solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Zurich (1997), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek (1997), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (1999), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2000), Hayward Gallery, London (2002), State Russian Museum, St Petersburg (2004), MCA, Moscow (2004), BALTIC, Gateshead (2006), MCA Sydney (2006) MoCA Cleveland (2007) and the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2008).
Other Honours: A knighthoods for Bruce Forsyth, the entertainer; and a DBE for Jennifer Murray, BBC presenter of Women’s Hour.The CBEs include Colin Firth, the actor; and Bryan Ferry, the singer and songwriter.The actors, Bernard Cribbens and Tim Brooke-Taylor, have been awarded OBEs. There is also an OBE for Lee Westwood, the golfer. From the England Cricket Team there are OBEs for Andrew Flower, Team Director, and to Andrew Strauss, Team Captain. Alastair Cook, the youngest Englishman to reach 5,000 test runs, is awarded an MBE. There is a CBE for Gillian Ayres, one of Britain’s finest and most original abstract artists