Qualifications and standards

Scholarship painting exemplars - 2016

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Outstanding Scholarship

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Panel 1 (JPG, 1.4MB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1.4MB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 1.5MB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 4.2MB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 3.5MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 3.5MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 4.2MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 4.7MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 4.1MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 4.5MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 3.8MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 4.3MB)

This submission pursues a strong intellectual enquiry that is well supported by a convincing underlying proposition – “to bring to light the issue that Easter has become a commercial tool celebrated for the benefit of the economy”. This is put in motion from the outset by rigorous application of critically-led editing processes, informed by a total clarity of purpose as evidenced in the folio and workbook. 

The investigation occurs through sophisticated use of imagery and selection of iconography. The candidate develops a set of symbols that act as powerful signifiers: the challis, Easter egg and picture frame, which effectively draw together the three core conceptual contexts addressed: art, commercialisation, religion. The work starts with a clear strategy, established primarily through the candidate's self-selected iconography chosen to represent the topic. Clever use of associate material and branding builds the discussion further, e.g. the foil wrapper slogan, Cadbury dream, Crunchie bar referring to gold.

Faceting is a motif that creates mobile links across the folio, including the fish symbol, chocolate Easter egg, landscape, stained glass, foil wrapping. The facet motif also represents economic wealth through the analogy of diamonds and crystals. This is matched by symbolic use of colour to set up relationships to the three source contexts. The colour treatment operates as pseudo branding for the central proposition that religious events such as Easter have been commercialised, and that religion itself has bought into this commercialisation.

Light humour emerges as metaphorical play and symbolic exploration, such as "gold in them hills" (crunchy bar hills), "grass is greener on the other side” (wrapping and facet hills), and when the Easter bunny chuckles to himself. This language play is incredibly well-handled and has a subtly that doesn’t get in the way of a viewer making their own interpretations or reading of the work.

Formalist composition that points to the conventions of still life and landscape painting promotes a sense of confidence and authority in the individual works, referencing both contemporary and historical precedents. This is reinforced by the consistency of high-level technical application and facility. Perspective and various scales within composition generate different types of spatial viewpoints – stacked, flattened, mantle piece – creating in-built hierarchies within the picture plane. Compositional treatment reinforces the religious triptych (painting convention).

There is comprehensive research and analysis in the workbook that is systematically argued and explored. Excellent editing is demonstrated throughout the workbook and critical intelligence is seen in the removal of the more obvious explorations from the folio. A number of series or passages of work are included in the workbook that have been edited out or developed in parallel, affirming the breadth and depth of this Outstanding Scholarship submission.


(click icon images to see a large version in a new window)

Panel 1 (JPG, 1.1MB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 1.3MB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 1.3MB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 3.6MB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 2MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 2MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 2.1MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 2MB)

This submission explores the notion of manmade spaces and the urban in contrast to nature and natural forms. The enquiry moves from representational investigative studies into compositional combinations of elements drawn from both of these contexts through a controlled and considered enquiry. Abstraction is used as a method to distill the changing scape of the selected subject matter through inventive amalgamation of motifs, patterns and surface treatments.

Artistic reference is utilised as a ‘way in’ to develop the enquiry. Strategic incremental moves are made that reflect the candidate’s analysis of their own work in order to find synchronicities between their thinking and an extensive range of well selected artistic practice. As they unpack their own processes, references are found in response to the progression of work thus informing the practice as it develops. This allows for intuitive decisions to take precedence and for the emergence of a lightness of touch as the central mode of practice. This is reinforced by the formalised approach to layering, the different types of mark making and painted gestures.

A strength of this Scholarship submission lies in the control of graphic and painterly media employed. Drawing is utilised as a depiction tool and a means to detail abstract areas of colour, and to create linear gradations of tone and form. There is a symbiotic relationship between the abstract elements and figurative motifs. This is amplified by the finely tuned incorporation of formal language conventions and painting concepts. Scale interplay is inventively utilised to create new relationships and to invert notions of representation and create push pull relations.

Alongside the compositional focus, colour is isolated as an enquiry in itself. Colour acts as filler, background, motif and atmosphere – and is used to re-structure depth of field and exploit linear and atmospheric perspective. To this end, colour operates at times as a motif separate to the drawn elements, which is achieved through an established range of painting techniques whether that is solid flat areas or more liquid applications.

The confidence and understanding of pictorial abstract concerns enables the candidate to handle a variety of scales in terms of image size, with more explorative colour/shape placement and stacking building across the enquiry. There is an active inventiveness at play throughout that maintains fluency and promotes new ways of seeing – each work tackles a new proposition and reveals an extension of the last iteration.

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