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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

THE ULTIMATE PRIZE - Aspect Prize Countdown Begins...

From top to bottom, Riverside Interior #1 by Patricia Cain, Lube by Scot Sinclair, Douglas by Paul Kennedy and Leaving Atlantis by Alec Galloway

Wearing my two hats - journalist and PR, I wrote about the imminent announcement OF Scotland's premier prize for painting, The Aspect Prize, in Saturday's Herald newspaper. The text follows below.

I'm genuinely bubbling with excitement about this as, like Brian Hanrahan I counted Paul Kennedy, Alec Galloway, Patricia Cain and Scot Sinclair out last June when they were shortlisted for the Aspect Prize and next Monday night, at a reception at the Fleming Collection, I'll count them all back as they nervously await the judge's decision.

Taggart actor, Alex Norton, a huge fan of Scottish art, will make the annoucment.

All four artists have produced stunning work. May the best man or woman, win.


The Fleming Collection
13 Berkeley Street
London W1
020 7409 5730
www.theaspectprize.com and www.flemingcollection.co.uk
Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5.30pm (Admission Free)
From January 12-16, 2010

Being an artist in lean times tests creative minds and bodies to the hilt. This point was made recently by Charles Jamieson, who as a working artist and co-founder of one of Scotland’s biggest independently funded awards for Scottish artists, the Aspect Prize, is in a better position than most to comment.
Talking about how hard it was for artists to make a living, Jamieson said: “I’ve been in many, many studios in the last few years. In that time, I’ve seen conditions that are Dickensian. I know artists in their 20s and 30s who have chest complaints because their studios are so cold and damp.
“Yet, they are hanging in there. Just after winning the Turner Prize last month, Glasgow-based painter Richard Wright was asked what he planned to do with the £25k prize money and he replied, ‘like everyone else, I have bills to pay.’ I knew exactly what he meant!”
As you read this, four anxious souls, Patricia Cain, Alec Galloway, Paul Kennedy and Scot Sinclair, will be contemplating the impact that £10,000 will make to their lives should they win this year’s Aspect Prize in just over a week’s time.
All four artists, who received an initial £5,000 cheque when they were shorlisted back in June last year, have been working on a body of work which will go on show for a week at the Fleming Collection’s London gallery, a venue which has been described as an embassy for Scottish art. The winner will be announced there on the evening of January 11.
This is the first year Scotland’s premier prize for painters has got into bed with The Fleming Collection and it’s shaping up to be a match made in heaven.
“The Fleming Collection is all about exhibiting and promoting Scottish art and the Aspect prize is about giving artists opportunities to show their work and the financial help to make it,” says Jamieson.
For last year’s winner, Alistair Pender, the initial £5,000 cash injection enabled him to put a roof over his head as he had been sleeping rough in his van in the west end of Glasgow prior to being short listed.
On the day the 51-year-old won last March, as well being given the £10,000 award, he sold two large canvases, each worth £16,000. The Aspect Prize, quite literally, transformed his life.
I have to own up to a real sense of pride and ownership at this juncture as I’ve been involved with the prize for the last two years, initially as a judge (a fantastic learning curve) and this year, as part of its PR team.
In this role, I’ve had a chance to get to know the short listed artists and their work and can confirm all four have risen to the challenge.
Former lawyer, Patricia Cain from Glasgow, the only woman on the short list, has been pushing herself to the hilt with large studies of buildings under construction, particularly Zaha Hadid’s new Riverside Museum on the River Clyde.
There is real intensity in Cain’s work, as though she is trying to piece together the fragments which make up our complex modern lives.
Inverclyde-based Alec Galloway is a renowned glass-maker who runs his own stained glass company and is also head of architectural glass at Edinburgh College of Art. Painting has always been an integral part of his design work and there is a beautiful solidity in his of paintings for this exhibition, which are inspired by the theme of migration.
Paul Kennedy, from Glasgow, is the youngest artist on the list, and has worked as a community artist. His paintings are focused on portraiture, yet Kennedy’s people are almost talisman-like in the way they reach out to the viewer. They are someone and everyone.
Johnstone-born Scot Sinclair, who teaches at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, is the final artist in the line-up. Figures also play a major role in his large hypnotically zesty paintings which are made with household paint, although his crowd scenes are not so obvious.
Who will win? It’s anyone’s guess…

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