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'(M)other' by Helen McGhie

1st (M)other by Helen McGhie

Judges Reviews

The installation of photographs titled '(M)other' by Helen McGhie is a multiple portrait of an archetypal Mother figure conflated with the interiors of an ageing house. Its walls, like her body, have passed their period of youthful pristine surfaces. Instead of feeling regret, I view these pictures as a child anticipating disappointment but craving comfort never the less.

The scale of the photographs, their varying heights on the wall, the somber tones all suggest a yearning that is deeply melancholic. The use of photography to address this subject enhances the feeling of loss and as Helen herself suggests - a 'haunting' quality within the images.

'(M)other' is part of a burgeoning appetite for re-theorising the Mother in contemporary art and one that has its roots in the iconography of the Madonna in the history of art but strives to break out of redundant molds that no longer fit. Hermione Wiltshire.

I loved this particularly work in terms of both the instillation's composition and subject matter. McGhie's work has a haunting sensitivity, which is underpinned by a dark almost sardonic play on the fragility of the female form. I was particularly interested her use of traditional hand printed c-type photographs, and the interiors in which the subject is shot, to create a fascinating exploration into notions of identity. Aretha Campbel.



Very Highly Commended: 'False Memory' by Sadie Hennessy

2nd False Memory by Sadie Hennessy 'False memory' works as a photograph of a sculpture when 2 things happen in quick succession-1. A graphic recognition of a well-known brand of soap aimed at male consumers and 2. On reading the material it is made from. That, and knowing of the existence of False Memory syndrome makes for a concatenation of thoughts and sensations. The anticipated cold touch of the metal offers ambivalent messages of comfort and guilt. I would like to see and touch this object!. Hermione Wiltshire.


I love the POP-esque humour in this work. The play on materials, and familiarity of the domestic object. Aretha Campbel.


(Judges comment pending). Marie Jacotey.



Judges Personal Favorites

4th Face To Face by Alex Simpson 'Face To Face' by Alex Simpson

My particular favourite included this year was Face to Face by Alex Simpson. I loved her use of materials, marrying the two dimensional with the three dimensional. There was a beautiful simplicity in her composition and monochromatic use of colour, which I felt drew the viewer in, and underpinned the juxtaposition between clay, Indian ink, and paper. Aretha Campbell.

5th Jackie Kennedy Holiday Home by Amanda Benson 'Jackie Kennedy Holiday Home' By Amanda Benson

'Jacky Kennedy holiday home' by Amanda Benson interested me as it suggested an attempt to construct a fantasy by whatever means necessary. The social and political implications held by the title engender both privilege and tragedy working in stark contrast with the modest and handmade construction of the work itself. It reminds me of the way a child or an artist needs minimal means to enter into an elaborate narrative where anything can be conjured up from nothing and is driven primarily by our willingness to imaginatively engage with a story. Hermione Wiltshire.

3rd The Blues by Julie M Taylor
'The Blues' By Julie M Taylor  

(Judges comment pending). Marie Jacotey.

The prize-giving dinner was be held in Blacks Club, Soho, London.

Helen McGhie & peter Blue
Artist Helen McGhie receives £1,000 for winning first prize from Founder Peter Blue.

Julie Taylor & peter Blue
Artist Julie M Taylor receives a small prize for being a Judge's Favourite.

BWA Prize-giving Dinner attendees at Soho

Prize giving dinner at Blacks Club, London

Prize giving dinner at Blacks Club, London

Some of the artwork on show at Blacks Club, Soho

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