Adam Kennedy, a 23 year-old Glasgow-based artist who recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, has won the Aspect Prize, the most important award for Scottish artists. His success in winning one of Britain’s largest independently funded arts prizes was announced at a reception at The Fleming Collection, which has become an embassy for Scottish art in London, last night (Mon 10 January) by the leading Scottish actor Bill Paterson.
“It means a lot to me because it opens up so many doors,” said Kennedy, whose brother Paul was an unsuccessful Aspect Prize finalist last year. “I didn’t think that I could win because the other three shortlisted artists are all such strong painters.” He takes away £10,000 in addition to the £5,000 that he and the other shortlisted artists have already each received.
Charles Jamieson, chairman and co-founder of the Aspect prize, said: “Judging was extremely difficult and discussions on each of the artists was intense. Adam’s strong, extremely powerful works won the day and the Prize team is delighted with the decision.”
Selina Skipwith, Keeper of Art at The Fleming Collection, which began life as a corporate collection and has evolved into the only museum entirely devoted to Scottish art in the United Kingdom, said: “There was a strong body of work from all four finalists but Adam Kennedy’s series of works impressed all the judges and we are delighted to accept his painting Dry Dock Constructions for The Fleming Collection’s permanent holdings.”
Kennedy lives in Glasgow. He graduated in Intermedia Art from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009. His work ranges from site specific installation and extraordinary objects influenced by the history of airline travel to paintings reflective of his childhood fixation with transport and growing up next to the River Clyde in Glasgow. Recent influences on his work have included contemporary artists such as Anne Penman Sweet, whose paintings with loose shapes and colourful drips depict oil tankers , and Kilmarnock-born Ryan Mutter, who paints dark, heavy images of River Clyde-built structures.
The other three shortlisted artists, who each received £5,000, were:
Steven Lindsay, the former lead singer of the chart-topping Glasgow-based band The Big Dish, who had a hit single with Miss America. He left Glasgow School of Art when he and the band were offered a record deal by Virgin. He now works as a freelance graphic designer, art/creative director, artist and musician. He has a classic approach to painting, favouring broad brushwork, and most of his work is figurative.
He lives in Paisley.
Frances, who left Glasgow School of Art in 1980, draws her inspiration from natural forms and in particular from shells found on the beaches of Mull and Iona. The influence of the Hebrides has driven her to produce works with uncrowded space which are an invitation to meditation. Frances has supported her art through parttime work in higher and further education, community arts and health care. She won the Scottish National Art Prize in 2008 and lives in Kirriemuir, Angus.
Rowena has worked as a professional artist for 25 years, supporting her painting through teaching and other freelance artwork. The latter has included an abstracted 20ft map of Scotland painted on tarmac for the BBC. Rowena said that the paintings she submitted for the Aspect Prize are examples of the large-scale oils that have always formed the bedrock of her work. She lives in Glasgow.
Works by the four shortlisted artists will be exhibited for sale at The Fleming Collection at 13 Berkeley Street, London W1 from tomorrow (Tues) until 20 January.