This year’s Turner Prize shortlist was revealed yesterday. It’s all about familiar materials being used in surprising ways. And it’s definitely not about London!
Karla Black makes work using unusual-but-familiar materials like make up and plastic bags. Martin Boyce is a sculptor whose installations “relates to and transforms the space around it, creating atmospheric, sculptural art inspired by modernist design history.” George Shaw uses enamel paint to capture the Coventry council estate he grew up on, while Hilary Lloyd uses video and sound, and our assumed familiarity with these media, to challenge our expectations and assumptions.
It’s a great list, and I’m looking forward to paying Baltic a visit. From the few bits of their work I’ve seen online, I’m loving George Shaw at the moment. I like the way he captures scenes which are mundane as subjects for painting, but which hold so much meaning for him, and for anyone who’s familiar with them. The images he captures could be seen on any council estate or back street. The fact that Shaw has painted them makes me think about them in a new way. And his choice of medium is particularly interesting. He uses Humbrol enamel paints, the ones my brother uses to paint model aeroplanes. Even his choice of paint brings with it a hint of escapism. It’s at once mundane, but elevated to something important when it’s used in a gallery. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of his work up close at the end of the year.
For only the second time in its history, the exhibition and prize-giving ceremony will be held outside London, and for the first time at a non-Tate gallery. This year the Baltic gallery in Gateshead will host the 4 artists from October, with the recipient of the £25,000 prize announced on 5th December. (Incidentally, if you live within reach of Baltic, you can see the exhibition of Shaw’s work that won him his nomination. The work is on display until 12th June 2011).
The Turner Prize is awarded for an outstanding exhibition held by an artist under 50 in the previous 12 months.