“Surprisingly daring and full of lots of professional qualities”, that’s how this year’s International Art adjudicator has described the competition. Brian Catling RA, says he’s impressed with the standard of work at the 45th edition of the event, which this year attracted 123 entries.
76 artists from Gibraltar and Spain took part with a wide range of paintings and sculptures submitted.
The top prize was awarded to ‘The Dog with the Broken Back’ by Judith Shaylor. A work which the adjudicator describes as a contradiction, a disturbing image painted with a sense of calm and control. “There are many layers of things occurring in it, it’s a disquieting image where you are not sure if the dog is going to die, but it’s not a sentimental picture”. He is also impressed with the flag composition and the geometric screen which creates a divide between the animal in the foreground and figures in the background, and in this way separates the main image with the real world.
Does it capture perhaps a moment between life and death? Mr Catlin asks. It’s a strange and powerful image, he says, a metaphoric one, combining abstract and figurative concepts. Simple and effective.
The Jacobo Azagury Prize ‘A Voyage into The Unknown’, depicts the Rock of Gibraltar but is a painting about a passage at sea. Brian Catlin says the work by Gabriela Fernandez Lopez focuses on a moment of calm held between a great storm, with a boat perhaps a refugee boat, sailing through. He believes it captures the essence of being at sea where land can became an illusion. But the artist’s application and technique is something he praises, saying these are used effectively to create turmoil and movement. A powerful piece, carefully handled.
The Third Prize, the Leni Mifsud Award was presented to Derek Duarte for his sculpture ‘Naturaleza Muerta’. An old wooden chair with twigs attached, sits in one of the vaults, a simple structure, says the adjudicator, but one that has great presence.A practical object that has its history but one that’s lost its use, with the twigs that sprout from its base also dead. “An elegant and beautiful thing”
This year’s Gibraltar Theme was awarded to a self-portrait. Benjamin Hassan’s striking picture captured the adjudicator’s interest. He describes the piece as superbly painted, showing the artist’s humanity and warmth. “I know what kind of man he is because he is telling me. Gibraltar is not only about landscapes, but Gibraltar is this person”. This is a significant painting that stands alone, he adds.
There were eleven contributions for the Young Artist category with Julian Osbourne’s ‘Shadows’ taking the £1000 prize. The adjudicator describes the artist as a very promising one, with a great painter’s touch. The figures captured from a distance, with the shadows more powerful than the images itself. He highlights the use of the frame to help create the binocular picture, saying it adds to the composition and general effect.
The exhibition is on at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery at Casemates until the 17th of November.