With a prize of £30,000, the Threadneedle is one of the largest art prizes available in the UK, so each year it attracts a host of talented artists. Now in its fifth year, this year’s selection is extremely varied ranging from a mask covered in rose thorns to a shelf full of sculpted heads.
Social commentary features strongly in this exhibition including an Urban Burka made from cut up trainers to Kate Ives’s Modern Pearl – a bronze cat of a chewing gum in its wrapper. One of our favourite works is Gillian Swan’s identical models of houses all placed atop weighing scales. The reading on each scale is different, hinting at the current housing market where location, and not the property, is the main driver of price.
Also of note is Mark Leyton Jameson’s impressive seascape where he has painted an orange star in one corner that resembles a discount label. It’s a knock at the commercialism of the art world and how it’s often less about creativity and more about shifting products.
Clare McCormack’s impressive print on a door is one of the joint winners though it did feel similar to the work of the artist Vhils. The other joint winner is Lisa Wright for her emotionally charged paintings, which have a much more traditional feel compared to the other artworks on display.
Compared to last year the curation has improved in that there are fewer works, giving visitors enough space to absorb one work at a time. It’s once again an impressive collection of artists with works to suit all tastes.
The Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture is on at Mall Galleries, The Mall, SW1 until 12 October. Admission is free.