From education to employment

#Platform2018 Graduate Award shortlist announced

(top l-r) John and A Heap of Raw Material, installation view at University Centre Hastings, Godith Hawkins, 2018. Image courtesy the Artist; you i i i, Jospehine Rock, 2018. Image courtesy the Artist; Excavate (with a fine tooth comb), Untitled and Triple glazing, installation view, Luke Dawes, 2018. Image courtesy the Artist. (bottom l-r) , Twenty Four Hour Nights, painting detail, Ronan Porter, 2018. Image courtesy the Artist; After IMG_8811, painting detail, Abbie Schug, 2018. Image courtesy the Artist.

CVAN South East is pleased to reveal the five artists that have been shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award 2018.

The artists are:

  • Luke Dawes (Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford), nominated by Modern Art Oxford
  • Godith Hawkins (University Centre Hastings), nominated by De La Warr Pavilion
  • Ronan Porter (University for the Creative Arts, UCA Canterbury), nominated by Turner Contemporary
  • Josephine Rock (University for the Creative Arts, UCA Farnham), nominated by Aspex
  • Abbie Schug (University of Northampton), nominated by MK Gallery

The award includes a £2,500 bursary towards the development of the artist’s practice and a year of bespoke mentoring support. Guest selector and artist Harold Offeh will announce the winner of this year’s award on Saturday 17 November at a special event at MK Gallery.

Anthony Spira, Director, MK Gallery said:

“Congratulations to the nominated artists who have demonstrated a real energy, enthusiasm and commitment to their practice, working with the teams at each partner gallery. 

“Now in its seventh year, the Platform Graduate Award continues to offer a vital showcase and professional development opportunity to graduate artists as they embark on their careers.

“For MK Gallery, and the other partners within the CVAN South East network, supporting artists in this way makes a direct contribution to the South East arts ecology.”

Thirty-three graduate artists from universities across the South East region were selected and are being exhibited at the five partner galleries – Aspex in Portsmouth, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Modern Art Oxford and Turner Contemporary in Margate – all members of CVAN South East (Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East).

From their respective exhibitions, each participating gallery nominated an artist to be considered for the award. 

Award announcement event: 

Saturday 17 November, 1-3pm, MK Gallery Events Space, 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA. For a press pass to attend this private event please contact Abigail, details below.

Exhibition dates:

Modern Art Oxford, 5 September – 14 October (solo exhibition series)

Turner Contemporary, Margate, 7 September – 4 November (group exhibition)

Aspex, Portsmouth, 28 September – 30 December (group exhibition)

MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2 – 24 November (group exhibition)

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, 15 December – 6 January (group exhibition)

Shortlisted artists’ statements

Luke Dawes (Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford)

Luke Dawes works across painting, sculpture, small assemblage and object based works. He is interested in visual cliches employed through the history of making and art production, and the baggages both mediums and their typified forms imply. His work attempts to synthesise the disparate visual hierarchies between art and design, allowing the works to question the function of an artwork, a question posed by their material seduction and ornamental modes of display. The quasi-painterly, quasi-sculptural positon of the works permits them to be considered objects, enabling each unit to signal a larger visual inquiry.

Godith Hawkins (University Centre Hastings) 

Godith Hawkins’ practice explores vulnerability and the value of a photographic image considering both the angst of a still image and the uncanny elements surrounding photography. Considering both the reclining and fallen body, her work references post-mortem photography, not to suggest death, but as a process in which to position the body and instill a comfortable anxiety. Working digitally, she uses material and colour to suggest wellness, which is then contradicted by the unnerving subject. Works John and A Heap of Raw Material explore this manipulation and use of material.

Ronan Porter (University for the Creative Arts, UCA Canterbury)

Ronan Porter is a practicing artist who recently graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the University for the Creative Arts. They have exhibited work in Warsaw, Poland; Canterbury, England; and Paphos, Cyprus. Ronan was born in England in 1994 but was raised in several countries including Peru, Papua New Guinea, Norway, the United States, Poland, Qatar, and Cyprus.

Ronan first studied Physics at Imperial College in London before deciding that wasn’t the right path for them. Although art is their true passion Ronan is also interested in reading, tea, travelling, fucking gratuitous swearing, and breaking the gender binary.

Josephine Rock (University for the Creative Arts, UCA Farnham)

Josephine Rock’s interdisciplinary practice encompasses sculpture, film, performance, text, and photography. Her working methodology is research-led, like that of an investigative journalist, pursuing wide-ranging concerns from the amplification of power relations connecting the body and technology within online communities of ‘Doxy Spotters,’ to the co-option of mindfulness by the US army.
Born in 1990, Portsmouth, Rock completed her BA at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. Recent exhibitions include Fully Mad And Completely Credible (Brewery Tap, Folkestone), When Our Lips Speak Together (James Hockey Gallery, Farnham) and Prefix is Post (Lewisham Arthouse, London). She has been shortlisted for the Woon Foundation Prize 2018. 

Abbie Schug (University of Northampton)

As a practising artist Abbie Schug’s research explores the relationship between the analogue and digital. Influenced by her keen interest in traditional portraiture and photography her work investigates the anatomy of the digital image whilst questioning the nature of viewing.  Abbie’s studio practice has seen the exploration of drawing, painting, photography, animation and printmaking. Her most recent body of work uses oil on canvas to study solarised digital screens displaying anonymous portrait photographs. 

Abbie has exhibited her work at The Bank in Eye, Suffolk, and at Avenue Gallery, Northampton. Her painting Abbie – Self Portrait (2015) reached the final preliminary rounds of the RA Summer Exhibition 2016. 

Harold Offeh, artist, and guest selector

Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice in a career spanning 20 years. Offeh often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture and is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history.

He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. In 2017, he exhibited as part of Untitled: art on the conditions of our time at New Art Exchange in Nottingham and Tous, des sangs-mêlés at MAC VAL, Museum of Contemporary Art in Val de Marne, France. In 2018, forthcoming projects include, Down at The Twilight Zone for Nuit Blanche 2018 in Toronto, Canada. He studied Critical Fine Art Practice at The University of Brighton and did MA Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art. He lives in Cambridge and works in London and Leeds, and is currently a Reader in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University. 

Selection panel:

The selection panel includes: Paul Hobson, Director, Modern Art Oxford and Chair, CVAN South East, Joanne Bushnell, Director, Aspex, and Deputy Chair, CVAN South East, Rosie Cooper, Head of Exhibitions, De La Warr Pavilion, Simon Wright, Curator of Public Programmes, MK Gallery, and Victoria Pomeroy, Director, Turner Contemporary.

About the Platform Graduate Award: An initiative to support emerging graduate artistic talent to further their practice following graduation. Established in 2012, the award includes a £2,500 bursary and mentoring, and is awarded to an outstanding graduate from one of sixteen participating regional higher education partners. 

The initiative is led by CVAN South East (Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East) and is a partnership between five galleries: Aspex in Portsmouth, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Modern Art Oxford and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Following an exhibition and events programme across the five participating galleries, an artist from each gallery will be nominated for the award, with the winning artist announced in November 2018.

Platform focuses on artists in the first year after graduation; a critical time when the loss of the university support structure and financial pressures can test an artist’s dedication to their practice. For the participating galleries, this is a way to keep in touch with the most promising emerging practice, and with higher education institutions. More broadly, the scheme aims to stimulate artist networks outside of London and encourage artists to stay in the South East region.

In 2017 the Award was won by Sophie Barber a graduate of the University of Brighton’s BA (Hons) Fine Art Practice at Sussex Coast College Hastings, who was nominated by De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. More than 61,000 people visited the Platform exhibitions across the five galleries last year. 

For information about the previous years’ winners exhibiting artists – Platform Graduate Award 

For updates on previous artists (also known as the Platform Alumni) – Focus articles 

Photographs of the 2017 exhibitions and award presentation – Facebook albums 

About CVAN South East: Aiming to be an effective network for the sector in the South East region by working in partnership on strategic projects and programmes, and by sharing learning and information to maximise expertise and creative thinking. The network is concerned with developing critically engaged art practice, and dedicated to promoting a visual arts ecology that thrives on the inter-dependence of many stakeholders, including artists and art professionals, local government, higher education, not-for-profit and commercial sectors.

CVAN South East is one of the nine regional networks in England that make up CVAN (the Contemporary Visual Arts Network). CVAN South East is supported by Arts Council England.

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