The Threadneedle Prize at Mall Galleries
At Mall Galleries just off Trafalgar Square, the Threadneedle Prize’s exhibition of painting and sculpture is particularly stimulating this year. Showcasing a diverse selection of Britain’s best contemporary art, the organisation aims to make modern art accessible for all, and this instalment was no exception.
If you’re tired of the swathes of animals in formaldehyde and single neon strip lights posing as art, then you should hurry down and catch this while its short run lasts. Though some pieces are slightly obscure and definitely ask for some of your time to deconstruct them, there is a clear talent eminent in all. There is still life exuding energy, as well as intricate etchings and photo-realistic oils that challenge the notion that brilliant oil painting died with the great masters.
The closest thing to a butchered cow or a wall of butterflies is the bizarre Lesson by Ilona Szalay, which has a few insects trapped under a layer of glaze, certainly lending an added creepiness to the loose, disturbed style.
Set in four varied rooms, the one with the two winning pieces is a show-stopper, containing mostly large oils including standouts Plague Season by Nicola Beating, and The Weather is All That Happens by Alan Stewart. Both are quite psychedelic, using a palette of vivid colours that really captures the imagination. The former has a sea of contorted, calligraphic frogs raining down on terrified caricatures, and the latter invokes the sense of mystery in nature with a bright pink shining from behind neon green trees.
Other exceptional artists are Jon Bentley with The Abduction of Europa (a bizarre oil juxtaposing a family from the 50s with mythology), and James Neubert’s Sicilian Man – a Venetian mask delicately covered with rose thorns.
The Threadneedle Prize is thoroughly successful in its objective to encourage the creation of “fresh, powerful and intriguing work”. Not to be missed!
Photos: Emre Zengin
The Threadneedle Prize is at Mall Galleries until 12th October 2013. For further information visit the prize’s website here.