The Catlin Art Prize @ London Newcastle Project Space

More Collectors than ever seem to be happy to take a risk on a young artist . For those looking for something exciting and challenging, emerging artists can offer affordable unique works. (Lets face it, no one really wants editions).

One reason more people are buying “new” is the high cost of established artists driven by the increased demand for contemporary art in general. Another reason is that financial speculators see what happened to Hirst’s values over the last 20 years and want a piece of the action.

There’s also something else i believe thats driving purchase of new work, and it’s down to the rise of online curation. Cool hunting as it’s also known. New art imagery is snapped up and propagated on websites, tumblrs and blogs (look, you’re reading this now). What this does is create is a PR network for artists within the target market that is buying work: 30 something, digital savvy, highly paid, creative professionals. When an young artist is suddenly appearing worldwide, you’re getting some guarantee of “good” and thus more inclined to buy in.

The Catlin Art Prize is a prime example of the cult of the new. A great venue, great curator, great artists and hefty financial support from a sponsor enabling it to happen.  I thought the exhibition was brilliant. A really impressive show any artist would be happy to be a part of, even an established one. I listened to people chatting excitedly at the show, students i think, hoping it was going to be them next year. (and this was two days after the private view) My photos really don’t do justice to the quality of the hanging and the lighting. It was top class.

So if you’re a collector you can thank Art Catlin for making it tougher to find that fantastic new artist before everyone else. And we all know it’s not going to get any easier (or cheaper)

Here are my favourite three artists from the show:

First: Ali Kazim

My vote for best in show went to Kazim. His work is more reserved than a lot of the other artists, but still waters run deep. Kazim demonstrates incredible craft, emotional depth, and multi disciplinary talent. His obtuse self portraits, executed in pigment we’re so technically brilliant it was as if he was laying himself bare for everyone to see. The clincher though was Untitled (heart). A sculpture of gentle magnitude. Executed in human hair it was an beautiful metaphor for the fragility of the human spirit. I expect big things for him.

Second: Max Dovey

I really liked Dovey’s work. The idea of capturing the last day of terrestrial analogue TV resonated with me. All of a sudden I was a kid again, watching older relatives run around like headless chickens attempting to record the entire Live Aid concert, unaware that pretty soon technology would render this practice redundant. Dovey’s cassette collection is more likely to contain Jeremy Kyle and Quick Cash! loan ads, but I think it’s a more profound snapshot of society than anything else.

The Last day of TV is part document, part monument, part personal statement, and probably the best use of increasingly rare VHS tapes, ever. (Although with all conceptual artists I always sort of think they’re having me on, and those tapes are probably all blank, but then who’s going to be able to watch them soon? Dovey’s got us over a barrel). I’ll be watching closely to see if Dovey continues to create engaging executions whilst capturing the zeitgeist. If so, perhaps he’s got something.

Third: Jonny Briggs

Briggs has been getting plenty of shine recently. He’s currently at the Saatchi Gallery and seems to be the artist of the moment. The reason he’s in my top three is his mastery of a wide range of mediums. In the last year i have seen strong video, sculpture and photographic work from him. I don’t know if i connect with it on a personal level (strange, because i like dark work) But his executional skill and mastery of theatre within an image impresses me. A Standout work for me is “Regeneration”


The Catlin Art prize runs until 25th May. Go see it.

http://www.artcatlin.com/

There might not be another show as strong as this till Art Catlin 2013.

Advertisements