Every month The Circles of Art newsletter features an artist who has captured our attention. Members vote for our annual award recognising the artist whose work they find most outstanding.
Abi Ola, March 2022 – Artist
Vibrant colours, bold geometric repetitions and dramatic monotones race across artist Abi Ola’s work. Her dazzling creations – which span paintings, photography, collage, performance and other media – evoke an air of mystery and wonderment. Ola is clear about the response she strives to ignite: “I want to overwhelm you with patterns and to draw you inside my world.” A recent Goldsmiths and Slade graduate, this Londoner’s work won the Bloomsbury Festival Art Competition and has been shown at venues including the Saatchi Gallery and Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. When not busy in her studio you will likely find Ola at the British Museum or V&A, studying textiles from Africa and Oceania and William Morris designs.
Hoa Dung Clerget, February 2022 – Artist and sculptor
Hoa Dung Clerget came to London from her native Paris to work as a banker, but changed tack to study at the Royal College of Art. She applies the same mathematical rigour that she one used for qualitative models across painting, sculpture and performance. Drawing on her French-Vietnamese heritage, she chooses everyday objects such as brooms and fishing baskets to deconstruct, explore and refashion. She currently focuses on installations that elicit times past through different senses: sight, touch, hearing and smell. Her graduate work recently attracted attention at London’s Saatchi Gallery; more is due on show at the Jerwood Space later this year.
Rita Parniczky, January 2022 – Multidisciplinary artist
On her course in textile design at Central St Martins, Rita Parniczky developed through photogram her own weave technique to show the invisible structures or ‘X-Ray’ of her woven work. Her novel approach caught the attention of The Worshipful Company of Weavers which, in 2009, commissioned her to create the first woven hanging in her X-Ray Series (pictured), transferred to the V&A’s permanent collection in 2017. Working from her studio in Shepherd’s Bush, she has moved to mixed-media, transforming her woven sculptures with plaster and exploring structure in drawing, all on display on her website.
Yurim Gough, December 2021 – Visual Ceramic Artist
Korean-born Yurim Gough is a visual ceramic artist who started life as a fashion designer but had an epiphany when her hands first touched clay. She draws from life models onto fired bowls, capturing what are often challenging emotions. The addition of coloured transfers and gold decoration adds vibrancy to her work. Now based in Cambridge, she is moving into self-portrait sculptures and exhibits internationally.
Amélie Peace, November 2021 – Artist
Launched on Instagram after her graduation show at the City and Guilds London School in July 2021, Amélie Peace explores through her paintings in acrylic on canvas how body language influences the way we communicate with each other. She alters digitally, photographs of figures doing stage exercises, then draws them on canvas, and through colour and distortion examines their physical connection. Hands are key markers in her paintings, powerful indicators of touch long denied during the pandemic and such a timely form of expression now.
Marcus Aitken, October 2021 – Artist
Based in South London, Marcus is known for his gestural paintings – often featuring a variety of unusual media. He uses a combination of layering, distressing and blending to present a multifaceted surface to his work. His background in design has informed and developed his abstract approach. He has shown in exhibitions internationally and was named as one of Saatchi Art’s top 20 emerging artists to watch in 2020.
Rebecca Gilpin, September 2021 – Artist
Rebecca’s unusual approach to painting encompasses the inspiration of music; since her studio days at Oxford Brookes she has soak-stained unprimed canvas to the sound of rock, blues and jazz and recently put on a major solo show at The Koppel Project Exchange in Piccadilly. The sunset colours and scale of her paintings attract international collectors via Saatchi Art and at the age of 25 her passion for experiment is undimmed.
Joseph Black, August 2021 – Artist
Joseph says of his precision-honed paintings: “the relationship between people and nature, and in particular between animals and their depictions in art, has always been the main focus of my work”. The musculature of horses and myriad colours of trees fuel his passion “to explore the finest details and bring them to life”. This Kent-based Courtauld Institute graduate recently had a solo show at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery, where his equine works were centre stage.
Mark Rochester, July 2021 – Artist
Having trained at the Central School of Art, Mark swapped a career in textile design for landscape painting when he moved from Dulwich to Ilfracombe. The distinctive colours and textures of his canvases capture the drama of the north Devon coast. He exhibits his work regularly in local galleries; it has also appeared at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Caleb Richards, June 2021 – Artist
Caleb is a London-based artist who creates hyper-vibrant paintings that ripple with movement and mockery. Strong colour and rich texture are applied in layers to evoke compelling stories and stimulate ideas. As he says: “Figures in my paintings are less people and more objects. They act as symbolic representations of the wider narrative.”
Thyme James, May 2021 – Painter, Printmaker and Performance Artist
At the Glasgow School of Art Thyme James discovered that the body was her focus, through painting, often in oil pastel, printmaking, and performance – she describes her practice as multi-disciplinary. She was the 2019 winner of the New Graduate Award at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, which recognised the brilliance of her creations of bodies that are reformed, translated and blazoned with colour.
Tim Gilpin, April 2021 – Painter
Artist of The Year 2020/2021
Tim Gilpin’s paintings not only capture the eye but envelop you within the lush surroundings of their canvas. He chooses the slow-drying intense medium of an oil palette to bind together the brilliant colours he loves. Working initially from a photograph of a room or hotel interior, Gilpin draws a composition of lines and shapes that he then manipulates and scales onto large, square-format canvases.
Mark Glassman, March 2021 – Painter
Drawn to painting through his love of colour and the tactility of the medium, Mark gained a degree in Fine Arts in Leeds. He paints repeatedly over his canvases, creating a multi-layered finished piece from which only fragments of the first strokes can be observed. The sea is an inspiration, especially the shingle beach near his home in East Sussex, where his garden studio is open as part of the local ArtWave festival.
Ewan Mungo White, February 2021 – Painter
A student at the Slade School of Fine Art, having gained a scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, Ewan Mungo White creates vibrant oils on canvas, inspired by the rich and sensuous surfaces of paint, and ‘the incredible possibilities of colour’. His ideas come from folk songs, literature and painting is an exploratory, intuitive process. For a bright young artist at the start of his career, his paintings feel uniquely interwoven with depth and texture.
Barnaby Barford, January 2021 – Painter and Sculptor
A multi-talented artist, Barnaby Barford creates vast ceramic sculptures, enigmatic word paintings and shiny satirical figurines. He loved drawing from an early age, and after a foundation course at the University of Plymouth his interest in ceramics inspired by slipcasting led to a masters at the Royal College of Art. At the advent of the pandemic he transferred his skills to painting on canvas, in a studio surrounded by his family.
Conor Rogers, December 2020 – Painter
Conor Rogers, who won the UK Young Artist of the Year Award 2019, is known for his unique compositions of elaborate acrylic paintings on unusually ordinary found objects; the precision of his execution, on such inconvenient surfaces, is a true testament to his skill. He likes the versatility of acrylic, how its adhesive quality bites into surfaces: ‘I used to paint portraits of celebrities onto my schoolfriends’ shoes.’
Alice Walton, November 2020 – Ceramic Artist
Alice’s love of imagining textures in clay and experimenting to create different colours, mixing tones to create depth, was born at a foundation course at Wimbledon School of Art. She honed the freedom of expression she found in sculpture by attaining a Masters in Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, interpreting everyday objects into abstract forms. As the winner of the Fresh Wedgwood Award at the British Ceramics Biennale she hopes in her residency in 2021 to create new work within Wedgwood’s design studio and factory.
Francesca Mollett, October 2020 – Painter
Her impressive art training culminated in an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art; now Francesca creates lyrical paintings noted for their innovative combination of oil and acrylic paint. Wide reading informs her themes – feminism, magic, storytelling – and her response to geological formations, weather, natural objects and textiles give an underlying reality to her seemingly abstract work.
Tom Morgan, September 2020 – Painter
Tom is an emerging young artist from the Slade School of Fine Art whose small and medium-sized paintings on canvas, wood and paper created in his Warwick studio show influences from Abstract Expressionism, especially Franz Kline and Willem De Kooning: ‘I didn’t know you could just throw, pour, scrape and drip and say that was a painting until then.’
Emily Wilson , August 2020 – Painter
Artist of The Year runner up 2020/2021
Portrait artist Emily Wilson captures the elusive essence of childhood with her iridescent watercolour paintings. The arrival of her first-born son rekindled her artistic creativity and she has progressed from depicting him to taking photo-to-portrait commissions. Her passion for painting and drawing, conveying a child’s pure joy for life, appears in every piece.