Catlin Prize shortlist of nine makes for slick show in Londonewcastle Project Space

By Mark Sheerin | 15 May 2013

Exhibition preview: Catlin Art Prize 2013, Londonewcastle Project Space, London, until May 26 2013

Colour photo of a digitised stain glass rose window and light cast on gallery floor
Conall McAteer, Holier Than Thou (Rose)© Peter Hope
The black and boxy space of Londonewcastle could not be further from the crumbly institutional feel of many degree shows. And the work from recent grads now on show here could not be further than the tentative efforts of a stressed out final year student.

Nine artists are shortlisted for the prestigious prize (worth £5,000) and eight chosen from colleges in London should feel right at home in their new Shoreditch location. A special mention is due to David Ogle, from Lancaster University, for breaking the capital’s grip on new talent.

Ogle has a room to himself for a mind-bending intervention in which a grid of laser beams bounces round the space in the presence of a molten sun. This work was created anew for this site; all previous iterations have been destroyed. So the Lancaster graduate benefits from a slick install which gives all these upcoming artists the space and time they need to make their statements.

Two paintings in the show also benefit from the low lighting. Steve Allan’s race of banana people are more easily appreciated here than across town in New Order at the Saatchi Gallery. Perhaps that is thanks to the relative intimacy at Londonewcastle; there are subtleties in Allan’s work and a level of detail which can easily be skipped over in a grander environment.

Nicky Deeley on the other hand is anything but subtle. Her work is monstrous. The Royal College grad has built a watercolour studio and a stage set, where she performs in a nightmarish costume for as long as doors are open to the public.

Her appearances are stately and hypnotic. At some point, one expects, she will paint. But in the foreground are the Dalí-esque cracked eggs from which this behemoth has hatched.

For commitment alone, Deeley should do well in the public vote (worth an extra £2,000). But there are quieter charms on offer in Robert Crosse’s film. The Folkestone Model Railway Club has less to do with tiny trains than it has to do with boys’ clubs and arcane knowhow.

Pleasing shots of steam trains puffing round the narrowest of gauges are spliced with men of a certain age helping build and maintain the tracks. If only First Capital Connect showed such love.

From beginning to end, curator Justin Hammond has put together this show with equivalent care. It may be an early point to run for an art prize, but recent graduates need opportunities like this.

And as for the rest of us, we need opportunities to see them in professional context. That is, after all, the one for which most students make their work, however good their chances of success.

  • Open 11am-6pm (12pm-4pm Sunday). Admission free.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.

More pictures:

Colour photo of light show in darkened gallery
David Ogle, 08020© Peter Hope
Colour photo of a performer in a shaggy costume standing on a makeshift stage
Nicky Deeley, Island Year© Peter Hope
Colour photo of an arrangement of red and greed-lit screens in a darkened gallery
Terry Ryu Kim, Screening Solution I,II and III© Peter Hope
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