Margaret Harrison wins the 2013 Northern Art Prize for Reflect at Leeds Art Gallery

By Emily Beeson | 30 May 2013
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Carlisle-based artist Margaret Harrison has been announced as the sixth winner of the Northern Art Prize at Leeds Art Gallery.

A photograph of Margaret Harrison
Founded in 2006 by Director Pippa Hale in collaboration with design and communications agency Logistik Ltd and Leeds City Council, the prize is awarded annually to contemporary artists of any age, working in any discipline and living in the North of England.

The prize, and a £16,500 cheque, were awarded to Harrison for a mixed-media exhibit comprised of several new pieces of sculpture painting and drawing, titled Reflect.

This conglomeration of works showcases her prolific 50-year career as an artist and activist. Since the sixties, Harrison has been producing work exploring sexuality and taboo and founded the London Women's Liberation Art Group in 1970.

Harrison’s prize-winning work includes The Last Gaze, inspired by the well-known Pre-Raphaelite painting The Lady of Shalott. Using John William Waterhouse’s original image as a centrepoint around which rear-view mirrors are positioned, the artist reflects on transgression and gendered perception in a contemporary context.

Common Reflections, an expansion of Harrison’s 2012 Berlin solo show Fear Forgetting, is an installation comprised of concrete posts, wire, corrugated zinc sheeting and mirrors, littered with personal items.

Photographs, children’s toys and clothing and household objects make up this peculiar retrospective piece, which was initially intended to depict the peace camp occupation of a site adjacent to Greenham Common during the eighties.

Visitors to the prize exhibition have been casting votes since March. For the second time in the history of the prize, judges and visitors have been unanimous in their decision.

Judge and Frieze Magazine Co-Editor Jennifer Higgie presented each of the other shortlisted artists, including Rosalind Nashashibi, Emily Speed and Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, with £1,500.

Hale, who is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Project Space Leeds alongside Kerry Harker, will open a new contemporary visual arts centre for Leeds, The Tetley, later this year.

Open 10am-5pm (1pm-5pm Sunday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @LeedsArtGallery

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