A photo of three artists standing in front of their work at the artsdepot Open exhibition.

The winners of artsdepot Open 2017

| Wed 9 Aug 2017

Recently we announced the winners of artdepot Open 2017, our exciting annual exhibition featuring work by emerging and established artists from Barnet and beyond. Following the Private View, we caught up with the winners to find out more about them and their winning work.

This year’s first prize was awarded to photographer Miranda Lopatkin for The Glance.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I have an MA in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art and Design and have exhibited professionally in the UK and abroad. I was in the Royal Academy summer exhibition 2016 (I was too busy having baby number two to apply this year!) and was recently commissioned by Jewish Book Week to create two works of art displayed at Kings Place in London. I have previously been mentored by performance artist Franko B and been awarded a place on the prestigious Florence Trust residency.

What is the inspiration behind The Glance?

The Glance is inspired by old and new ideals of beauty and body image. The idea of giving old forgotten photographs a new contemporary lease of life is also an important part of the work to me. I was gifted a very special slide archive of old starlets and sports men and women. The names of the people within are lost, so I re-imagine them by projecting them onto people in the present. I like to imagine them as body art. An increasingly popular way of remembering events or people is to mark them on the body through tattoos, so I’m playing with the ideas of the old and new merging. The work juxtaposes contemporary ideals of beauty and body image with that of the 1920s female.

How did you create the work?

I created the work using three slide projectors, a selection of old slides I inherited and a model! I projected a series of slides to create a background and the slide of 1920s female tennis player onto the arm of the model. I then used a digital camera to capture the final image. I like to play with old and new technologies, fusing them together.

The second prize was presented to Leah Thomason Bromberg for her oil on canvas Driveway (Winter).

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Author Sherman Alexie says, "We're just a bunch of rednecks with braids". I grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. My family blends the American South with being Navajo. That means home sits at the centre of everything: whether it's the muddy greenery of Virginia or our traditional Dinétah. Now in London, I live with my husband and dog. I brew beer, run, and play hockey, while also running Baygel Bagels, a sourdough bagel business.

What is the inspiration behind Driveway (Winter)?

This is the last view of my family's home in Virginia. It's the home where I grew up and always call "home". We always carefully back out of the long driveway when it's time to fly back to the UK. I always try to remember as much of it as I can. It is a heavy moment. I want those moments to be remembered and to be given their weight in terms of time.

How did you create the work?

Like much of my work, I start with images from my phone. I like to work from the everyday. This piece took about a month to complete. I begin with a full underpainting, then do other layers and glazes on top. Each layer has to dry fully before the next, making my painting a slow process. Such a long process feels akin to how I want to hold onto fleeting moments in my work, especially since each painting sometimes involves repainting each image multiple times with all of the layers.

Shirley Nette Williams won the artsdepot Open Prize for the mixed media work Slab 1

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a London-based mixed-media artist, making multi-layered work inspired by imperfection and deconstruction.

Two decades in fashion design laid the foundation for my interest in material transformation. During that time I realised I had a natural talent for problem-solving in relation to construction and sourcing materials creatively. These valuable skills have become the backbone of my artistic process. I feel privileged to possess both a designer's mind and an artistic eye.

The focus of my work is material play and discovery, with textiles as a driving force. My ingrained curiosity leads me to experiment with unpredictable processes, such as ceramics and printmaking, where control of the outcome is diminished. I'm particularly drawn to discarded or imperfect materials that possess the ability to build form and hold memories of passing time.

My current work sits between painting and sculpture. I explore textural imperfections found in the urban environment, taking visual clues from the ever-changing landscape of my surroundings. I'm interested in juxtapositions created by building sites, demolitions and new constructions. My work unexpectedly combines manipulated textiles, paint and concrete. The use of these materials also questions stereotypical gender associations of certain materials.

What is the inspiration behind Slab 1?

The idea for Slab 1 developed after I found part of a domestic appliance discarded on a nearby street. The battered dishwasher rack had clearly been run over by a heavy vehicle and lay abandoned, looking like a three-dimensional drawing. I took it home, not knowing exactly why.

I had been contemplating a project relating to displacement and transformation, inspired in part by David Thomson's book In Camden Town. While walking some of the routes mentioned in the book, I'd noticed household items discarded on the streets. By incorporating the discarded structure into my work I'm referencing the relationship between the displacement of objects and the rapid transformation of my neighbourhood, Camden Town.

In Slab 1 and the other five pieces in the series, mangled metal combines unexpectedly with plaster, paint and textiles, creating interesting material contrasts. Textured surfaces reference 'accidental art' created by accumulated marks on urban walls and pavements. I see my work as an abstract interpretation of the world around me, harmonious, yet with an underlying tension.

How did you create the piece?

My approach to creating reflects my interest in imperfect surfaces and mark-making. I work intuitively and have developed a sculptural way of making that brings dimension to traditional notions of textile art.

I agree with Robert Rauschenberg, one of my favourite artists, when he said '...you begin with the possibilities of the material'. I'm intrinsically drawn to unconventional materials. The physicality of Slab1 essentially explores the possibilities of combining hard and soft. My making process has evolved since the conception of Slab 1 but it always involves labour-intensive, craft-based processes.

I started by creating an energetic textile collage from overlapping layers of deconstructed fabric, held together with stitch. The next step required making a mould to suspend the collage and metal in a plaster cast. At this stage I used processes related to ceramics and printmaking to create textured surfaces. The textile collage, found metal and plaster were then placed into the clay mould and left to set for about half an hour. After removing the clay the piece was left to cure for a week. A light dusting of spray paint over the main body and few coats on the metal protrusion, completed the piece. The whole process took a couple of weeks.

I enjoy exploiting the intrinsic characteristics of textiles and continue to conceive unorthodox ways to manipulate and combine them with unexpected materials.

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