Known as the most prestigious annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021 received 3,300 entries from 1,673 drawing practitioners living in 46 countries for the open exhibition and awards.
From the thousands of submissions, 114 works by 99 practitioners were shortlisted. Five of them received awards worth £27,000 on Wednesday 29 September at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London.
Gary Lawrence received the First Prize of £8,000 for his work, Ye Olde Keyhole Surgery, 2020. Gary Lawrence was inspired by The Dormition, a medieval icon featuring the Virgin Mary laying on her death bed, which reminded him of an operating table (he had recently had an operation), which gave him a new subject... "keyhole surgery NHS 1392 style". The drawing borrows religious imagery, including the NHS surgeons as angels, embodying the power of good in the struggle of live against death.
Gary Lawrence has been featured in the UK’s most prestigious drawing prize several times. The selection panel changes every year and the work is presented to them anonymously, meaning the 2021 selection panel were unaware in making their choice that this would be the Essex-based artist fourth award to date. Gary Lawrence received the First Prize in 2011 (chosen by selectors Iwona Blazwick, Tim Marlow, Rachel Whiteread), the First Prize in 2017 (selected by David Dibosa, Helen Legg, Michael Simpson), the Second Prize in 2018 (selected by Nigel Hall RA, Megan Piper, Chris Stephens) and also received a Special Commendation in 2013 (from selectors Kate Brindley, Michael Craig-Martin, Charlotte Mullins).
The Second Prize of £5,000, was awarded to David Haines for Dark Balloons, a hyper-realistic pencil drawing of 15 balloons spelling the words "THINGS FALL APART". David Haines, who lives and works in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Nottingham (United Kingdom) started this series of dark balloons during lockdown. Illuminated by the flash of a camera, shiny balloons emerge from the darkness, hanging against a blank wall. Some spell out the year or signify a birthday, hinting at cancelled lockdown celebrations, while others bear pessimistic messages, reflecting the isolation of a “new normal” or the socio-political turmoil of the time.
Gabriela Adach received the Student Award of £2,000 for her hand-drawn animation El Duende. Following her BA Fine Art & History of Art from Goldsmiths, University of London (2014-17) and The Drawing Year, a postgraduate-level course at The Royal Drawing School (2018-19), Gabriela Adach is currently studying for a MA in Art Psychotherapy at University of Roehampton London (2019-21). Her award-winning work is visual response to her experiences working and training as an Art Psychotherapist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Working Drawing Award of £2,000 was awarded to Zahra Akbari Baseri for her drawing, Sara, 2021, by the Working Drawing Award selection panel, Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee; Paul Finch, Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival; and Charles O. Job, Product Designer & Architect. Born in Iran and based in London, Zahra Akbari Baseri is a self-taught artist who combines contemporary concepts with traditional techniques. Her working drawing informs her painting practice, mostly acrylic on canvas with a strong emphasis on portraiture, built upon her cultural traditions and views of the world around her. This sketch represents a sitter the artist describes as her “beautiful Afghan friend”.
The Evelyn Williams Drawing Award of £10,000 is presented to an artist with a significant track record who has been selected for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021. The biennial Evelyn Williams Drawing Award was awarded to Roland Hicks on the basis of his drawing, Double Chip / Shuffle Zip, 2021, selected for the exhibition and his project proposal. Double Chip/Shuffle Zip is a trompe l'oeil representation of two offset pieces of chipboard, apparently stapled together. Roland Hicks' work belongs somewhere between the traditions of still-life painting, Arte Povera, Neo-Dada assemblage, and various types of geometric abstraction.
The Evelyn Williams Drawings Award assists the recipient in developing a solo show for Hastings Contemporary. The award was selected by David Alston from the Evelyn Williams Trust, Liz Gilmore, Director of Hastings Contemporary, and Anita Taylor, founding Director of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize and Drawing Projects UK and Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. Roland Hicks (b.1967 Aldershot, UK) studied BA Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, 1987-90, MFA Fine Art at Slade School of Art, 1994-96. Selected group exhibitions include: Gradation curated by Paul Carey-Kent at Patrick Heide Gallery, London (2019); Sticky Business at Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (2018); Humble As Hell (also curating) at the Kurt Schwitters Merzbarn, Elterwater (2017). Selected solo exhibitions include: OSB - Of Spaces Between at Mrs Rick's Cupboard, Primary, Nottingham, (2017); The Gathering Things at Eleven Fine Art, London, (2013); Roland Hicks/Give Me Every Little Thing at Oriel Davies, Newtown, then touring to Ffotogallery Cardiff (2008). Previous prize exhibitions include: Contemporary British Painting Prize (2018); Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015, London & UK tour (2015); John Moores 25, Liverpool (2008). He lives and works in London in the UK.
The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021 exhibition will open to the public at Trinity Buoy Wharf from 18 November to 6 December 2021 before touring to Drawing Projects UK in Wiltshire and other venues. The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events, an education pack devised by Drawing is Free, an introductory film of the exhibition, and there is a fully illustrated exhibition publication available to purchase with many of the drawings included in the exhibition for sale.
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