Sheila Wallis comes from Derry, N.Ireland where she lived until she was 16. Born at the height of the Troubles, her work is partly inspired by themes of internal and external conflicts and the vulnerability and exposure of the existential human condition. She has chosen to express these themes by painting the body. In her early life, this was a form which she was prohibited from exploring by the moral strictures of a Catholic upbringing, yet her builder father's abilities with his hands and his talent for creation is her earliest inspiration.Sheila wants her paintings to:
convey the vulnerability of exposure without being exploitative or cruel… [the subject] is aware of the scrutiny, but is not subjugated, objectified, nor dismissive of it. Essentially alone, all objects and paraphernalia other than the body and the surface it rests upon are removed, presenting a small, naked creature, not the classic ‘nude’.Sheila does not seem to have a website but you can see more of Sheila's work in this You Tube film. During 2009/10, she's also the artist in residence at the Watts Gallery, in Compton near Suidford in Surrey and you can see more of Sheila's work on the gallery website.
Sheila's prize was announced by Lauren Laverne (host of BBC 2’s The Culture Show), following the public vote which was held both online and at the Mall Galleries.
Last year I voted for the winner (in the gallery) and this year I voted for the winner too (but this time online) after seeing the works at the preview. This is what I wrote about this piece.
This is my favourite painting in the shortlist because, in my view, it's the best painting.I waited a week before I voted - and then thought about which piece was still in my head. It was Sheila Wallis's painting and that's why it got my vote!
The pose means that this is not a comfortable painting to look at - I'm not a fan of 'in your face' nudes (or self-portraits which can only have been painted from a photograph).
However there's something about the overall design and composition, the value pattern and the sensitivity of the colours used in this painting which makes you want to walk over to it and look...and linger, at which point you also admire the brushwork too!
Unfortunately, if it was in a competition to win prizes for presentation it would get marked down as its frame is really not doing it any favours at all and it would have been better presented simply as a board.
So lots of caveats - but still one of the pieces I liked the best and a candidate for my vote.
The awards were made at a dinner at the Mall Galleries this evening. You can still see the exhibition at the Mall Galleries until Saturday 19th September. Plus you can read more about the Threadneedle Prize in the posts listed below.
Links: Threadneedle Prize 2009
- Threadneedle Prize Registration Opens
- Threadneedle Prize - exhibition goes online today
- Exhibition review: The Threadneedle Prize - the shortlist
- Selection for Threadneedle Prize & my shortlist
- the exhibition for the new Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 1) (August).
- Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 2) - Green, Mills, Murdoch and Schierenberg and
- Threadneedle Figurative Prize (part 3) - Brandford, Shaw, Williams and the DVD
- The Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture,
- Address: Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace,London, SW1Y 5BD
- Telephone: 020 7930 6844
- email: threadneedleprize@