The ACS Studio Prize returned in 2018 to offer one student or recent graduate a £6,000 prize to help secure studio space in a UK city of their choice. Five finalists were chosen from a national open competition which attracted 330 submissions, marking a huge increase in applications from the inaugural Prize in 2017.
This year judges Lady Bridgeman CBE, founder of the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS), and renowned artists Eileen Cooper RA and Rob & Nick Carter deliberated over an initial longlist of 32 artists from throughout the UK and Europe.
The judges have awarded the £6,000 Prize to Rebecca Harper, a graduate of UWE Bristol (2011), the Royal Drawing School (2014) and Turps Art School (2018). Her work is largely observed from life, yet often reconstructs memories and dreams to rearrange fictional fragments as plausible happenings.
Judge Eileen Cooper RA said: “The overall standard of applications was very high indeed and the range of work impressive, with great breadth of practice evident. This made the selection both hugely enjoyable and very difficult. I would have liked the selectors to be giving out at least half a dozen prizes!
I particularly responded to the ambition of Rebecca Harper’s works in scale and subject matter, together with her warmth and observations, the paintings had real depth. I really felt connected to the world she portrayed.”
Alongside winner Rebecca Harper, the highly commended finalists were multi-disciplinary artist Anne Griffiths of Oxford Brookes (2018), sculptor Jamie Fitzpatrick of the Royal College of Art (2015), portraitist Sara Lavelle of the University of Brighton (2018) and painter Stella Kapezanou of Athens School of Fine Arts (2016) and Chelsea College of Arts (2017).
Lady Bridgeman CBE said of the finalists: “I was absorbed by the work of the shortlisted artists: by the evocative use of colour in Stella Kapezanou’s paintings, the maturity of Sara Lavelle’s portraiture, the intelligence and wit expressed in Anne Griffith’s work, the skill in Jamie Fitzpatrick’s engaging sculptural installations, and the dreamy, ambient quality of Rebecca Harper’s paintings.”
Rob & Nick Carter, Eileen Cooper RA and Lady Bridgeman CBE with Rebecca Harper’s work ‘Peckham High Street, 2017′ © Artists’ Collecting Society
‘The Taxonomy of the Cornflake’ © Anne Griffiths; ‘Installation View Catlin Art Prize, 2016’ © Jamie Fitzpatrick; ‘Guys Hanging Out at the Lilly Ponds, 2018’© Rebecca Harper; ‘Phoebe, 2017’© Sara Lavelle; ‘The Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living, 2017’© Stella Kapezanou