As part of our commitment to championing emerging artists, Phoenix welcomes two new studio members, Jessie Yates and Sophie Hulf, the first winners of Cass Art Phoenix Prize.
Jessie and Sophie, recent graduates from University of Brighton’s School of Art, have been awarded a year’s free studio space at Phoenix, affording these artists the time and space to develop their practice. They were chosen for their dedication and ambition, as well as their engagement with current contemporary practice. As Phoenix studio members, they will be encouraged to participate fully in the cultural life of the building.
Phoenix Brighton Director Sarah Davies said “It is a real pleasure to be able to support Jessie and Sophie in this way. Phoenix thrives on the artistic energy created every day in the building; these two young graduates are going to contribute to this enormously. I look forward to seeing the creative work that will emerge from this opportunity.”
“When I found out I had won the studio, I happened to be opposite Phoenix having my lunch break. I sat there for half an hour just staring at it, imagining all the new paintings I would create and what I was going to be able to do. Having a studio at Phoenix is an amazing opportunity that I am so ready to embrace!”
Absorbed in issues of gesture, mark and materiality; my work is particularly concerned with edge. It discusses, and converses with the language of painting, while feeling very much grounded in our current time, through its use of artificial colours and materials. The element of clear plastic PVC in my work, is directly related to our shifting time, advancements in technology, and the sheer amount of new information we encounter. It has created a new surface, a new language, and layer to my paintings. I find myself being absorbed into the space this plastic occupies; painting around it and through it with a curiosity I have not felt before. I paint around it and over it, like I am framing it, really focusing on the edge of each mark. The minimal, geometric surface these paintings begin with, gives me scope to work with and against this ground; creating ‘push and pull’ which gives the composition of these paintings an interesting edge. This ‘push and pull’ is also created through colour. The tonal nature of the ground lets the vibrant, acidic colours that sit on top, sing, thrive, and vibrate, as if they are moving. The intuitive colours flow and build up momentum and direction, flooding over one another with a gentle, yet purposeful touch. The surface of each mark is important. The viscosity and texture of a mark, allows for different depths and edges.
These works are rigorous and complex in their exploration of themselves, as their own language. They discuss not only materiality, but the language of painting as a woman. They wholehearted comment on the value of a mark based on gender, and the dogmatic patterns of art history. The art world puts women into boxes, marking works as feminine, these works attempt to question and redefine this notion.
“Graduation is a very daunting time for art students; the studio space at Phoenix will enable me the perfect environment and momentum to grow post university – I was shaking when I first learnt I had won and kept checking the email to make sure I hadn’t misread it! I’m a very social person and cannot wait to be inspired by local creatives as part of the community at Phoenix. I’m looking forward to harnessing this energy and everything learnt throughout my BA towards an extended project this year.”
I’m a new illustration graduate, and would describe my work as organic, curious and playful. I’m mostly inspired by people – both how we feel and how we work biologically – and how these factors shape the relationships that we have with our own bodies. Making art to me is fun so I don’t like to get tied down too long on any one thing, instead I love to experiment with a broad range of processes that explore patterns between the body, nature and science. As well as drawing, painting, animation and photography, I’ve recently incorporated jewellery making as part of my communicative practice.
Sophie and Jessie will take up their studio at Phoenix in September.