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WINNER OF BRITISH WOMEN ARTISTS COMPETITION 2013

'Disarmed and Ever So Slightly Dangerous' [Video] by Stacey Guthrie

Judges Reviews

There is a school of thought that would have us believe that humour does not hold a valid place in Fine Art. I am of the opinion that humour is not only an appropriate form of expression, but one that conveys very well the aspects the world we live in that would otherwise be less palatable. It seems to me a lot of artists are afraid to use humour in their work for fear of it not being taken 'seriously'. Guthrie's armoured heroines make for very serious reading, she manages to simultaneously create ridicule and sinister under currents in her work that evoke an emotional response in the viewer, in itself a fine art.

Debra Wilson, Director WW Gallery, London. WilsonWilliamsGallery.com

I found 'Disarmed and Ever So Slightly Dangerous' a film by Stacey Guthrie an intriguing piece. The concept of the layers of female personas and that which may be private or hidden interests me and I found the way in which the artists tackled this issue charming and absurd yet paradoxically honest. The initial amusement and clear wit of the artist for me soon revels itself as an exploration of isolation and disenchantment. The artists clear commitment to her work in the attention to detail of the overall aesthetic leaves the viewer feeling that have been witness to something incredibly intermit. I will be interested to see the progress of Stacey's practice as an artist and filmmaker.

Corrina Eastwood, Director Wearesweetart, London. WeAreSweetArt.com

Stacey Guthrie's videos are melancholic odes to the loneliness of creation, obsession and the madness of the things we do behind closed doors. Many of her narratives centre on being a woman and she uses humour in very a touching way, to address the persistent and often unchallenged inequalities and absurdities of a woman's lot in life. Spare, beautifully shot exterior scenes contrast with cluttered, atmospheric and remarkably detailed interiors, much like Guthrie's body armour contrasts with the soft noise of her internal dialogues. As well as her winning work 'Disarmed and Ever So Slightly Dangerous', another of her must-see videos is 'The Splendid Life of Hildegard Ramsbottom.

Chiara Williams Director WW Gallery, London. WilsonWilliamsGallery.com

 

 

Runner Up: 'The Women of Chelsea' by Alice Steffen

The Women of Chelsea - Alice Steffen I am always drawn to works that effectively portray a sense of conflict accessible to the viewer and what feels to be an insight into the internal world of the artist. This sense of conflict really packs a punch for me on first glance at the stunning piece 'Women of Chelsea'. With an innovative use of materials that show a level of commitment to the execution of the piece, 'Woman of Chelsea' projects a sense of determination and aggression. Conceptually exploring issues of class in a political context, for me the piece has a personal energy that is incredibly moving. The tension between that which is visually 'beautiful' and at a closer glance reveals a far less palatable truth, for me makes a lasting impression.

Corrina Eastwood, Director Wearesweetart, London.

Alice Steffen's work employs witty assemblage to comment on social and cultural stereotypes, and her BWA entries all center on female beauty rituals. 'Women of Chelsea', in its harsh clash of brash materials (eyelashes, diamantes, glitter, nail varnish) creates a visceral treat that unsettles and repells no sooner have its petals drawn you in.

Chiara Williams Director WW Gallery, London.

 

 

Judges Personal Favorites

 Two Steps Back - Jane Andrews  Shipping Forecast - Painter  This Too Shall Pass - Sophie Wellan
'Two Steps Back' By Jane Andrews

Looking at Jane Andrews's work 'Two Steps Back' and other paintings from her compelling body of work 'Station of the Skirt', I was immediately struck with nuances of artists as diverse as Carrington, Rego and Goya. To be honest, I didn't know anything about Andrews's work, yet I was intrigued to know more. So, I suppose it is not surprising that Andrews has made the BWA shortlist before. Her distinctive work is consistent, beguiling and accomplished. The recurring motif of a full, black skirt, is Andrews's metaphor for the straightjacket of the institutionalized female. The skirt is both full and black, both permissive and restrictive, its severe black, billowing folds do not offer the practical freedoms of a pair of trousers, but at the same time, its swathes of fabric conceal and hide. Evocative of fairytale, mystery, and the dark arts of the witch or crone, the black skirt resonates with all the stereotypes that demonize the feminine, those that in the west at least, have become normalized. Yet in Andrews's paintings, there are no flimsy misogynistic overtones of 'a bit of skirt', instead the garment and the wearer take on a sculptural and timeless monumentality.

Chiara Williams Director WW Gallery, London.

'Shipping Forecast' By Perdita Sinclair

On seeing the 'Shipping Forecast' I was immediately intrigued by its visceral qualities embodied in the mark making, evoking a sense of motion and movement. A fleshy pallet that I am naturally drawn to and the hint of the feminine in the fragmented suggestions of the female form, for me highlights the beauty of this work. There is something of both the ephemeral and transient yet permanent and robust that guided me in wanting to find out more about this work and its creator. The concept of the personal and internal, suggested by a mental health diagnosis, yet the acknowledgment of a wider reaching, social and potentially political impact of the subject matter all being explored in the one image for me feels both ambitions and bold. A multi layered and difficult challenge, I feel executed with a beautiful and sensitive resulting piece.

Corinna Eastwood

'This Too Shall Pass' by Sophie Wellan

Wellan's 'This Too Shall Pass' is an impressive installation that speaks of the inner world of feelings, isolation, helplessness and mental health issues. The eerie encasement of a hospital bed, could trigger many responses, I immediately projected claustrophobic amongst other things. Wellan invites us into a space to consider emotional states and inevitably, of course, in comparison, it is the complete sterile opposite of the much debated Tracey Emin bed.

Debra Wilson, Director WW Gallery London.

 Prize giving at Blacks, Soho, London Winners British Women Artists 2013

From left to right:-

Jane Andrews

Sophie Wellan

Stacey Guthrie (Winner)

Perdita Sinclair

Alice Steffen (Runner up)

The Prize-giving was held at Blacks Club, Soho, London on the 17th December 2013.

2012 Competition Winner   2011 Competition Winner   2010 Competition Winner   2009 Competition Winner

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