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Sworders Art Prize Entries *
Lockdown Garden I
82cm x 63cm
Like a lot of people who live in the countryside I was fortunate enough to have a garden to escape to during the lockdown. I began to record the plants as they came into flower and the many insects and birds that lived around me. Early on the orange tip butterflies and green veined whites were visible in the garden, and stayed for several weeks. The garden was full of bird song, the black birds especially conspicuous, one in particular who sat as high as he could on the television mast singing his heart out for weeks, apparently it was to first of all to attract a mate then establish that this area as his territory.
Trapped in lockdown, I sought something of interest that might substitute for a conventional landscape painting. In our old ‘crew yard’ I am always struck on sunny days by the way light diffuses through washed clothing and by shadows cast on the floor. I also saw potential for further studies in the ever-changing washing line. The painting was experimental - exploring how to create a composition with greater efficiency. I worked in situ, making a tonal under-drawing before picking out some areas with impasto paint applied with a palette knife to give greater emphasis and life to certain features.
Scarred by the weather and daily rough and tumble of the lifting of crab pots, the boats featured in this full‐colour linocut by veteran East Anglian printmaker H J Jackson are a reminder of the once‐rich fishing industry that thrived along the North Norfolk coast. The large clinker‐built crab boats may have disappeared over the years, but they are here immortalized in the blue tones of the early morning light.
In this age of digitalisation; authenticity and reproducibility have started to lose their relevance. This piece looks to question this idea of reproducibility in photography and explores the aura of the photographic process. To challenge this ideology, I have used materials that I have manipulated by physically combining them but capturing what naturally occurs once these substances have been mixed. This is merging the idea of authenticity with the idea of being unable to reproduce the images perfectly.
Painted during covid-19 pandemic. Finding local walks due to lockdown. Wanted to explore where Cotman and Norwich school of painters created scenes at Postwick on outskirts of Norwich. Instead found this scene beneath the A47 with beautiful graffiti. It reminded me of cave paintings and how art is and always has been an essential form of self-expression and a way to interpret the world around us.
Mixed Media (Resin, Acrylics, Alcohol Ink)
122cm x 60cm
Demeter’s Grieve is inspired by Greek Mythology. After Hades kidnapped Persephone (Demeter’s daughter), Demeter mourned, and a terrible winter fell on the earth. She refused to let her grains and fruits grow again until her daughter was returned. Eventually, Zeus gave in and ordered Hades to let Persephone go, but he retained a claim on her, and she was made to return to him for a part of each year. Every fall, when Persephone returns to the underworld, Demeter sorrows and we have winter. The use of resin in a multi-layer configuration creates 3D effect and reinforce the depth of the piece.
Lucas León Rojas
What are We?
Analog inking and digital paint
Printed on Canon fine art semi-matte 260gms paper with Epson Ultra Chrome K3 ink
Exclusive edition for Holt Festival - certified and signed
64cm x 64cm
The infant arrives at the world by crossing the door, open himself up to infinite possibilities, where the unknown will forever be such. The landscape mutates, the strangeness moves them. The dialogue of the masks, open their eyes, knowing themself fictions, and contemplate unlimited discovery.
I wanted to create large-scale detail celebrating plants with the vibrancy and intricacy of nature.
This thought-provoking oil painting depicts one of the most important global issues: climate change. With a series of pictures in pictures, this painting shows the seemingly endless journey in tackling the issue. The serious tone of the subject is juxtaposed with eye-catching elements such as ice-cream to represent melting glaciers and jellyfish surrounded by floating plastics to depict ocean pollution. Although appealing to the innocent and the ones who will be most affected by the crisis, the big question is: “Will we just let our next generation watch it all happen before their eyes or shall we act now?"
This poster was created in April 2020, during the lockdown. During this time I was struck by the parallels with our administration’s instruction to stay home with the ‘Step Into Your Place’ poster published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in 1915. Where we had to stay home, those eligible 1915 citizens had to step up and go to the Great War. In this light, I redrew the image with relevance, and designed a bold structure and statement. I used unafraid, bright colours to empower the importance of our task to stay home, yet kept the military theme.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a global wake-up call to humanity; one that has affected us all. I decided to record my thoughts, during lockdown, inside a box, as it has an inside and outside, just as we do; the perfect form to represent a view from my window, on the outside world.
Many different landscapes inspire me for countless reasons. The lockdown period has inevitably made me reassess why certain landscapes stay in my mind and remain pivotal to my practice. This is the longest I have spent away from Ireland which in some regards has been a positive thing. It has made me review plein-air sketches I made in Counties Donegal and Mayo. These oil sketches remind me of the instinctive process of grappling with a subject; the initial struggle, improvisation involved and end reward. I think drawing is one of the most direct, honest ways of engaging with our surroundings. For this reason I aim to treat pieces like sketches, hoping that the sense of discovery remains evident and paintings retain their freedom and life. Returning to Ireland frequently is important not only to paint but to absorb the landscape's abundant strength, energy and vitality. It informs my vision and I return with a clearer objective. Like many of my paintings, County Mayo II is not greatly detailed; one can never capture it all. Without relying on literal representation, I try to portray a time of day, atmosphere and convey spirit of place in an honest and direct way.
House and Home is a patchwork of 64 fabric squares which each feature a hand-embroidered house. The house designs have been appropriated from embroidery samplers aging from the 1700s to the present day. Houses have been stitched into embroidery samplers (mainly by women) since the 17th century. The home would often have been the only place that women asserted any power, and many would have had very little life outside their home. Lockdown has given many people an insight into how those in the past and present live when social pressures or disabilities force them to stay inside.
This drawing of The North Norfolk Fish Company shop, which is part of my People at Work series was done from life, by balancing my board precariously on one of the tables outside. I have to work fast to capture any kind of representation, as obviously people are moving all the time, but I love the flow that it gives the drawings.
Skyfall is taken on the River Ant, it is a riot of shimmering plant colour, unrecognisably abstract in the rippling water, with the blue sky crashing through sublime Norfolk’s ethos is taking abstract images from nature without photo-shopping.
Laura Pollock *
Screen-print on white fabriano accademia 200gsm paper
28.5cm x 39.5cm / framed within a white mount 50.7cm x 39.7cm
My artwork focuses on the landscape and infrastructures of Venice, through a palimpsest of imagery, within an abstract composite image. It does not depict the contrived picture-postcard image of one of the world's most popular tourist destinations; but instead presents Venice as a glorified dystopia. I’ve created this screen-print using orange, as the colour is to be found everywhere in Venice; not only in the architecture, but in the renders and paintwork, the tiled roofs and pavements. It’s also the colour of rust, which is increasingly prevalent, as the city slides irrevocably into an advanced state of deterioration and decay.
Dale Pring MacSweeney
Scallops on Bladderwrack.
Oil on linen
46cm x 61cm