From education to employment

Artist Harriet Bowman wins prestigious Mark Tanner Sculpture award

South West Showcase artist Harriet Bowman has won the esteemed Mark Tanner Sculpture Award (MTSA). Harriet Bowman’s solo exhibition ‘Taking care of the yolk’ is open at MIRROR in Arts University Plymouth until 8 June 2024. 

The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is one of the most significant awards for emerging artists working in the field of sculpture in the UK. It rewards outstanding and innovative practice in the field of sculpture and celebrates work that demonstrates a commitment to process and materials. 

Harriet will receive £10,000 in financial support towards the production of new work, and a solo exhibition at Standpoint Gallery, London. The award also includes a national touring programme, taking MTSA artists to partner venues across the UK. The selection panel for the 2024-2025 award were artist Alice Channer; Head of Exhibitions at Arnolfini, Gemma Brace; Rebecca Scott of the Mark Tanner Trust and Director of the Cross Lane Projects; and Steph Huang, winner of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2023-2024.

Harriet Bowman is one of two artists selected for the South West Showcase (SWS) 2024. Established in 2013 by Hannah Rose, Curator of MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth, SWS is a recurring open call platform, showcasing artists from across the South West region. The showcase aims to support artists working and living in the South West through a year-long programme of mentoring and support with an exhibition outcome; presenting a long-term commitment to profiling and supporting the practices of artists in this region.

Harriet’s solo exhibition of sculpture and sound examines the boundaries of materials in relation to human and non-human entities. She captures a series of unfolding events, from microscopic to macro scales, and the ways that these seemingly small happenings become heightened, fixated on and replayed over and over, circling a significant moment.

Harriet collaborated with Neil Rose, sound designer and Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts at Arts University Plymouth. Neil specialises in electroacoustic/acousmatic music, live performance, film, animation and design and worked closely with Harriet over the course of nearly a year to create the sound work for ‘Taking care of the yolk’.

Harriet, who is a Creative Associate of Arts University Plymouth, received technical support from other members of staff at the University to complete the works for ‘Taking care of the yolk’. Colin Wilkes is a glass artist, BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices alumni and Glass Workshop Coordinator at Arts University Plymouth. He specialises in glass blowing and worked with Harriet to fabricate the glass blown headrests, ‘Resting Points (a-k)’ 2024, which feature in the exhibition. Amy Whittingham is a glass sculpture and jewellery artist and the Glass Department Workshop Coordinator at Arts University Plymouth. Amy worked with Harriet to give technical support and the opportunity for experimentation to develop the fused glass sculptures for the exhibition.

Over the next year, Harriet will continue to have access to the facilities at Arts University Plymouth as a Creative Associate as she works on sculptural works for upcoming shows. 

Artist Harriet Bowman said,

“Winning the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is a significant moment for me and will have a huge impact on my practice over the coming year. I am excited to see how my work develops with the support provided by MTSA and continuing to access the facilities at the University after such a brilliant year working with the team at MIRROR and staff at Arts University Plymouth.”

Hannah Rose, Curator of MIRROR said,

“I am so thrilled that Harriet has been awarded The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award. This is a major achievement and so deserved, recognising Harriet’s innovative approach to sculpture and materials. I have absolutely loved working so closely with Harriet as her mentor over the last year. It’s been so exciting to see how Harriet has fully embraced the opportunity to experiment with new materials, forge new collaborative work and push the boundaries of her practice. The South West arts community is incredibly proud of her, I can’t wait to see her show at Standpoint Gallery and to continue to cheerlead for and champion her work’.  

Harriet Bowman is a multidisciplinary artist born in North Devon and currently living and working in Bristol with a studio at Spike Island. Recent exhibitions include ‘Maybe they had an urgent call’ (Touring), Exeter Phoenix, Exeter;Maybe they had an urgent call’ (Touring), Devonshire Collective, Eastbourne; ‘All Round-er (sad sale)’, Spike Island, Bristol; ‘putting my foot down’, OUTPOST, Norwich; Text included TACO! DreamsTimeFree publication and ART LICKS city edition.

Harriet was awarded Arts Council England DYCP grant in 2021; Parenting Artist Residency, Cow House Studios, Wexford. She has recently been nominated and is recipient of a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award; is part of the Axis Fellowship cohort, selected for The Cornwall Workshop facilitated by Mike Nelson, Kestle Barton and a WEVAA Research and Development Bursary. Harriet is an Associate Lecturer on the UWE BA Fine Art course and a trustee for Spike Island.

Harriet’s work is multi-faceted, making sculpture through an intensive process of learning, testing and experimentation. She examines the vulnerability of the body in relation to materials and the bodies of others within the processes of production. The sculpture she makes takes the form of: installation, objects, performance, photographs, narrative texts and audio. Writing is the vessel or vehicle used usually as the starting point, it is a key part of her process. Sometimes it exists buried below the surface, at other times it is performed as part of the sculpture. She gathers materials and sees how they link, to find circles and cycles as they form relationships through narrative. 

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