Be inspired by these five painters from the Aesthetica Art Prize. Discover a range of approaches to the time-honoured medium, from realism to abstraction.
Mortality was a common theme for the Old Masters, with their scenes of luxury and gluttony undercut by reminders of the grave. considers all still life to be concerned with death, and continues this association with his recent pictures of food slowly decaying in glass jars, deconstructed cakes and roadkill.
Khushna combines traditional and digital approaches by painting from photographic sources rather than live subjects. Drawing on the influence of the Baroque as well as contemporary figures such as Gregory Crewdson, Khushna believes this process of re-realising an already photographed moment leads to the most intense, distilled vision possible of the experience.
For Mullen, painting is a means to figuratively communicate abstract concepts. He has created a series in collaboration with Lucy Cordes Engelman, depicting a form of synaesthesia through spatial representation. Every number from 0 to 9 equals a specific colour, and every number beyond is a composite of those colours.
Imagined Nebula demonstrates the inability to accurately describe the vastness of something which is so difficult to perceive or understand. Creating nebuli through painting, Loz Atkinson use different textures, giving them no definitive edge that can be perfectly measured. These compositions show that however much we may think we know, we’re always an invisible line away from absolute truth.
Christopher Stott produces clean representational oil paintings that transform vintage objects into icons. The artist depicts a variety of antique items including appliances, books, clocks and typewriters, amongst other common instruments. As subjects, they have a built-in narrative – they tell stories. Turning them into painting creates an intimate experience which asks the viewer to slow down.
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1. Stephen Johnston, Limes in Jar, 2016. Oil on canvas. 120cm x 90cm.2. Stephen Johnston, Eggs in Jar.
3. Khushna,Society, 2016. Acrylic and oil on canvas. 223cm x 167cm.4. Daniel Mullen, Monument to the Future (2015). Courtesy of the artist and the Aesthetica Art Prize.5. Daniel Mullen, 37-67, 2019.
6. Loz Atkinson, Imagined Nebula. Courtesy of the artist.
7. Christopher Stott, Our School. 8. Christopher Stott, Ampro Precision Projector. Oil on canvas, 30in x 36in. Courtesy of the artist