The Arts Foundation 25th Anniversary Awards with support by David Collins Foundation

Written by Gülnaz Can

 Maisie Broadhead, "Peepers"

Maisie Broadhead, "Peepers"

This year the Arts Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary by shortlisting 25 artists for their prestigious awards. Five will be selected to receive the £10,000 fellowship with the runners up each receiving £1,000. The winners will be announced at a special party to celebrate the Foundation, its Fellows and supporters in February.

Since its establishment in 1992, the foundation has supported artists from the fields of Performing and Visual Arts, Crafts, Literature, New Media, Film and Design. The list of the shortlisted 25 artists is a wonderful celebration of art, and artists’ individual stories from a great variety of fields.

Scrolling through this list brings up new names and discoveries for any audience, made up as it is of artists, honoured by nomination by their fellow artists. From a theatre actress to a photographer, or an experimental musician, or a literary translator… The artists have been nominated by the Foundation’s current fellows, and the 2018 judging panel have shortlisted the artists from these. The final selection will focus on the turning points of these artists’ careers. As well as acknowledging the successes on their journey so far, it emphasizes the potential change the award could help to make in their artistic practice, possibly overcoming some challenges they might be having. It is in a way the award of and for the future.

Jochen Holz, who is amongst the shortlisted 25 artists praised the aim and ambition behind the award and said that the support is there when artist really needs it. Holz has been exploring a particular form of glass blowing for about 20 years. He says that his technique is rarely used creatively and stresses the potential which will come through more experimenting, creating a body of work which would show some entirely new sides to what he does. 

Another shortlisted artist, Maeve Brennan, who creates moving image and installations, investigates through her work the political and historical resonance of materials and places. Brennan said “The support the Foundation provides is completely unique, with the fellowship which allows experimental research without the pressure of producing a specific outcome. As an artist who finds value in slowness, it is rare to find support of this kind.” She plans to go to Lebanon, where she lived from 2013 to 2016, for research towards a new body of work.

The selection process, where the current fellows nominate the longlist of artists, supports the creation of an artists’ community. Maisie Broadhead mentions that she felt very special being nominated by Lin Cheung, whose work she has admired for a very long time and who it turns out she nervously interviewed for her BA dissertation back in 2001. Broadhead has a craft-making background, but also often uses photography. In her works photography and three dimensional objects, such as ornate framing, glass, metalwork or jewels, meet. Broadhead is in the early stages of researching for a new show in October at the Manchester Art Gallery, and will focus on doing work in response to their collection. 

The awards are given with the significant support of The David Collins Foundation with two £10,000 fellowships and eight shortlisted artists who will each receive £1,000. Iain Watson, CEO and Founder of David Collins Studio said “The shortlist highlights the innovation of new and emerging creatives across a broad spectrum of art forms. We look forward to a very special awards evening to mark this significant year for The Foundation, and the valuable contribution they offer through their fellowship program.”

 Maisie Broadhead photographed by Matthew Andrews

Maisie Broadhead photographed by Matthew Andrews

 Maisie Broadhead, "Purity"

Maisie Broadhead, "Purity"

Maisie Broadhead

How do you feel about being shortlisted? 

It’s really great, I have been introduced to the work of other artists who I was not aware of before and I am looking forward to meeting some of them at the awards. 

Any thoughts about the person who nominated you? 

It felt very special being nominate by Lin Cheung. I have admired her work for a very long time (I nervously interview her for my BA dissertation back in 2001!), I think she in and incredible artist and maker. 

Any thoughts about other nominees? 

I know Phoebe Cummings well, as we studied together a long time ago and I think she is doing such amazing beautiful work at the moment and it is wonderful to see her up there too.

Thoughts on the Arts Foundation?

I knew little about the Art Foundation before I was nominated but now I know what it supports I think it is very positive.  It is hard for artists to make big financial investment in a body of work and the type of money that is being given can be hugely impactful on a single practice.

Where do you see this nomination in relation to your career trajectory? 

It feels that it has come at a time when I finally have enough work under my belt.

Can you describe your body of work very briefly? 

I trained with a craft/making background, however I am still very much drawn to using photography as a medium, and I am particularly interested in the point where photography and three dimensional objects meet. 

Often my works are centred on a photographic print that is the result of a laboured studio photo-shoot process involving detailed set, wardrobe and lighting design. Commonly these photographic prints are then combined, adorned, or exhibited side by side with three-dimensional materials, for example; ornate framing, glass, metalwork or jewels. The final works are sculptural, three-dimensional experiences.

I create images, scenes, and objects with narratives using family and friends as my muses. These explore both personal histories, and themes from art-history. I am also particularly pre-occupied by notions of value, illusion and what might be considered to be fake.

What projects are you working on at the moment? 

I am at the beginning of researching for a new show in October at the Manchester Art Gallery, so I have been poking around in their archives recently as I am hoping to do some work in response to their collection. 

 

 Jochen Holz, "Neon Table Light"

Jochen Holz, "Neon Table Light"

 Jochen Holz, "Helium Neon Chandelier"

Jochen Holz, "Helium Neon Chandelier"

Jochen Holz

How do you feel about being shortlisted?

Well honoured, really.


Any thoughts about the person who nominated you? 

I feel grateful of course and also a bit lucky that he choose me..


Any thoughts about other nominees?

I would love Harold Offeh to get the prize, he is great at throwing a party.


Thoughts on the Arts Foundation?

I love the aim and ambition behind it and to give support when artist really need it.

Where do you see this nomination in relation to your career trajectory?

Not sure yet, but it can only be positive.

 Jochen Holz, photograph Matthew Thompson

Jochen Holz, photograph Matthew Thompson

 Jochen Holz, "Side Handle Colour Jugs", detail

Jochen Holz, "Side Handle Colour Jugs", detail

Do you have a specific project in mind?

To free myself up for more experimenting and to create a body of work which would show some entirely new sides to what I do.


Can you describe your body of work very briefly?

I am exploring a particular form of glass blowing for about 20 years now. The technique I am using is rarely used creatively and still has loads of potential, part of this is how you approach a craft and in lampworking it either comes from a technical, laboratory perspective or a very hippie, bead and pipe making aesthetic. I am trying to explore the middle ground and to look at glass organically, but with a critical eye. I think I work more like a potter than a glassblower in some ways.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

There is a exhibition with the theme of 'Vanitas Art' opening next month, which is part of a week of experimental food design in Venice. In May I am showing at Flow Gallery during London Craft Week and also a bigger display of my work with neon is opening in May in the A plus A Gallery in Venice. 

 Maeve Brennan, "The Drift 2k JM Graded Stills 07"

Maeve Brennan, "The Drift 2k JM Graded Stills 07"

 Maeve Brennan, "The Drift 2k JM Graded Stills 06"

Maeve Brennan, "The Drift 2k JM Graded Stills 06"

Maeve Brennan

How do you feel about being shortlisted?

Incredibly excited – it’s really special to be a part of the 25th Anniversary Awards.


Any thoughts about the person who nominated you? 

Ruth Ewan has been very supportive, ever since I met her during my BA at Goldsmiths. She is a brilliant artist whose practice I admire a lot – it is politically engaged, subtle and sensitive.


Any thoughts about other nominees? 

They’re a great group, I feel lucky to be amongst them!


Thoughts on the Arts Foundation?

The support they provide is completely unique. The fellowship provides the space and time to develop new and experimental research without the pressure of producing a specific outcome. As an artist who finds value in slowness, it is rare to find support of this kind.


What will you use the award for if you get it? Do you have a specific project in mind?

I will have just completed a new film in April (for the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018) so I am hoping to take some time to carry out research for a new body of work that I hope will involve a return to Lebanon (where I lived from 2013-16).


Can you describe your body of work very briefly? 

My work investigates the political and historical resonance of materials and places, mainly ending up as moving image and installation. Led by a documentary approach, I seek out proximity and intimacy with my subjects and this drives the content for each work.


What projects are you working on at the moment?

As I write this, I am on my way to the International Film Festival Rotterdam, where my film The Drift is nominated for the Ammodo Tiger Shorts Award  which is exciting! The Drift will also be in Tokyo as part of Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum and in Jeddah as part of Refusing to Be Still (Fifth edition of 21,39) curated by Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, both in February. I am also right in the middle of editing my new film Listening in the Dark commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018 which will open at Jerwood Space, London on April 6th.

 Maeve Brennan photographed by Amy Gwatkin

Maeve Brennan photographed by Amy Gwatkin

 Maeve Brennan at Chisenhale Gallery, photography by Andy Keate

Maeve Brennan at Chisenhale Gallery, photography by Andy Keate