£25,000 Threadneedle Prize looks to resurrect figurative art and take on the Turner Prize

By Culture24 Staff | 17 August 2009
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A picture of a woman holding a sculpture in front of her face

(Above) The Threadneedle Prize is looking to build on the success of its first campaign last year

Seven artists will battle compete for the second Threadneedle Prize after the shortlist for the publicly-voted £25,000 sculpture and figurative painting rival to the Turner Prize was announced.

Entrants include Middle World – a cement, bronze and steel "procession where life and death, joy and despair, light and darkness intersect" by Tim Shaw, who was also nominated last year – and an oil reconstruction of a New York Times photograph by 75-year-old Rose Wylie, the oldest of the finalists.

A picture of a sculpted tower

Tim Shaw, The Middle World. © the artist

There's a graphic depiction of St Peter on the cross by Louis Smith, a nude self-portrait by Sheila Wallis, a "memory of colours" watercolour by Lucy Jones and a powerful, simple portrait by Jaemi Hardy. Each runner-up will receive £1,000.

A picture of an oil portrait of a young woman

Jaemi Hardy, Clara With Chinese Horse. © the artist

"This prize is deliberately about restoring the primacy of the creative process based on observation," says Lewis McNaught, director of the Mall Galleries where Lauren Laverne will announce the winner on September 14.

A picture of an oil painting of a pastoral landscape

Lucy Jones, Over the Hill. © the artist

"It's not about what the mind thinks but about what the eye sees. This is what the Turner Prize is not doing. This is representational art at its best."

A picture of a painting of figures sitting opposite one another

Rose Wylie, The Manufacturers. © the artist

The Threadneedle is clearly hoping to build on the reputation it established last year, when Radio 4's Front Row called it a "rival to the Turner Prize" which was "full of constant surprises."

A picture of a painting of a woman lying naked on a bed

Sheila Wallis, Self-portrait. © the artist

One of the 2008 judges, Evening Standard arts critic Brian Sewell, called it "an instrument of resurrection" for a figurative discipline which he felt had been "betrayed" by the Royal Academy and left with "no platform for a quarter of a century."

A picture of a sculpture of green plantation on a black background

Melanie Miller, Green Hydrangea. © the artist

The shortlisted entries will be joined by a further 80 selected works in a display at the Galleries from September 2-19, and a new £5,000 Emerging Artist Prize for artists aged 18-28, chosen by the judges, will also be revealed.

Exhibition admission £2.50 / £1.50 (free for under-16s).

A talk, YBAs are dead – What Next?, will take place at the Galleries on September 3 at 6pm. Panellists include Brian Sewell, Jock McFadyen and Bob and Roberta Smith. Admission £7 /£5, call 020 7930 6844 or visit the ticket office online

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