Contemporary art is really my passion, but I have considerable admiration for the Old Masters, the contemplative nature of this work is incredibly inspiring, so I was pleased to see that the Cynthia Corbett Gallery have launched a new Prize, The Young Masters Art Prize. Great concept – the fusion of the old and the new. This is something that I love to do.
On 3 November 2009 the winner of the inaugural Young Masters Art Prize, Hector de Gregorio and artist duo Ghost of A Dream were announced as the joint winners. The artists were presented with a combined prize of £4,000 at an awards ceremony at The Old Truman Brewery. The winning artists were selected from 16 emerging and newly established international artists who were chosen to exhibit their work, which is inspired by the Old Masters, at the Young Masters exhibition that opened to great acclaim last month at joint venues Sphinx Fine Art and The Old Truman Brewery.
The prize was judged by a panel of high profile artists and historians including Medeia Cohan- Petrolino, Head Curator for the University of the Arts London; Lock Anderson Kresler, Christie’s Contemporary Art Department; Averill Ogden, Outset Art Fund, and Tom Hunter, Artist. London-based artist Hector de Gregorio, a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art, transforms his modern subjects in to fantasy characters, referencing the religious narratives of the Old Masters. In work such as Absinthes (2009) de Gregorio repeatedly paints and varnishes over digital photographs, creating a work, which evolves around theatre and fantasy, raising questions about power and submission and contemporary sexual confusion.
The American artist collaborative, Ghost of a Dream, (Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was) are inspired by the idealised notion of the get-rich-quick dream. Using discarded UK lottery tickets and scratch cards collected over the summer as their primary material, the artists have created an installation of desirable goods. Iconic works of art are represented, including Of the Pinks, In the Red (2009) – a direct reference to Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks in the National Gallery, which was bought with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Cynthia Corbett commended: “The judges choices were all very interesting and we are delighted that the prize will be shared by these three outstanding artists. Both Hector de Gregorio and Ghost of a Dream emphasise the sheer craft and technical skill in homage to the Old Masters, which has often been ignored when bestowing recognition and awards to young artists.”
Upon winning, Hector de Gregorio said: “As an emerging artist it is an honour and an encouragement to receive this award. Supporting the arts helps society to expand ideas and alternatives both in times of stagnation and in times of richness, it consolidates and it breaks through.” While Ghost of a Dream said the following after hearing the good news: “We are extremely honoured to win the Young Masters Art Prize. It has been an amazing to be included in this show and have the opportunity to exhibit our work internationally. Working alongside the Cynthia Corbett Gallery and the other artists showing in Young Masters has been exceptional experience. We want to thank AXA for sponsoring the Prize; we are honoured.”
Images © the artists
Absinthes by Hector de Gregorio
Of the pinks in the Red by Ghost of A Dream
Sepulchre by Hector de Gregorio
Beat The dealer 2009 by Ghost of a Dream