What’s On: The Columbia Threadneedle Prize Exhibition @ The Mall Galleries

by Megan Fatharly

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize is an exhibition currently on display at the Mall Galleries in London. The winner was recently revealed on the opening night of the show, but we thought we would take a look at some of our favourites and encourage you to get along to the exhibition to vote for your favourite where there is another £10,000 for the Visitors’ Choice winner. The Columbia Threadneedle Prize champions figurative art today and is celebrated as one of the most valuable open art competitions in Europe.

Ana Schmidt has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Columbia Threadneedle Prize, Europe’s leading open competition for figurative and representational art, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Schmidt received a cash prize of £20,000 and a solo exhibition for a wider body of work in the Threadneedle Space at Mall Galleries.

Her winning work, ‘Dead End’, is a part of a larger series of gritty urbanscape works that depict the fine details of abandoned spaces and edgelands that normally go unnoticed. It is a space within the landscape that sits on the peripheral of populated areas that are abandoned. She picks apart these urbanscapes and elevates the intricacies of space through minute detail captured in depiction of the textures.

"The structure of [Keates] work against fluid marks of the organic create and organised chaos which calms the viewer."

Her use of elements of composition such as reflection and symmetry of line continue to make the piece engaging to look at. Through the sense of realism captured in the textures, lines and details there is a sense of calm and quiet, almost poignancy within the work because of the subject matter.

Other pieces in the Urbanscape category that caught my eye was the work of Nicolas Sage whose piece ‘Sepia Wash’ focuses on abstracted and fragmented shapes which caught my eye because of how one colour has been used to create something striking. The use of a sepia wash suggests something busy and fleeting like that of city living. Artists who have the ability to create something raw through exploration of light and shape are always something I am drawn to in work. The use of flat shapes and hints of texture present a dark but emotive piece of work.

Other categories within the competition and exhibition include Still Life and Portraits/The Figure. I am not usually drawn to people or figures, but I was really captured by Kate Newington’s work which has hints of fragmentation and realism that she has combined to create a composition that leaves hints of a trace of memory and motion. In particular, with the figure and the lines created around the more complete figure.

Finally, the work of Painter, Charlotte Keates whose practice I’ve followed for a while online. She uses acrylic to depict the interconnectedness of exterior and interior spaces. Her use of shadows and lines are striking in how they are placed together to build up the composition. The structure of her work against fluid marks of the organic create and organised chaos which calms the viewer.

This exhibition is on at The Mall Galleries until 17 February 2018. 

Artist: Ana Schmidt
Winner of the CTNP

'Dead End'

Image credit: Mall Galleries

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