the 1st john ruskin prize: a new look at nature

Prize Winner: Carol Wyss

Prize FinalistsElizabeth Atherton, Duncan Ball, Deborah Feiler, Brian D Hodgson, Rebecca Jewell, Rachel Labovitch, Brian Lewis, Yi Lin Juliana Ong, Adrian Pritchard, Bettina Reiber, Christine Reynolds, Norihiro Usui, David Walker Barker, Kate Westbrook, Roy Wright, Carol Wyss.

Selection Panel: Howard Hull (Director, The Brantwood Trust), Clive Wilmer (Master, Guild of St George), Peter Randall-Page (Artist) and Sue Grayson Ford (Founder, The Big Draw - formerly The Campaign for Drawing).

Shortlist Exhibition: The John Ruskin Prize: A New Look at Nature, work by sixteen short-listed artists was shown in the Severn Studio, Brantwood from 8 September to 14 October 2012.

in 2012, in close collaboration with the Guild of St George, The Campaign for Drawing (now The Big Draw) launched a new art award: The John Ruskin Prize.  To inaugurate the prize an invitation went out to artists of 18+ across the UK ‘to take a new look at nature’.  The aim was to celebrate artists who take a fresh approach to the natural world, and whose work encourages the viewer to share their sense of discovery.

Delighted with the number and quality of entries, the jury selected a shortlist of sixteen artists. From delicate drawings to colourful canvases, the selected artists explored the complexity of the natural world. Their work formed an exhibition at Brantwood, Ruskin’s former Lake District home from 8 September to 14 October 2012. The winner, Carol Wyss, was announced at the Private view on 7 September 2012.  Wyss received £1000 and a specially commissioned pencil case made from oak grown in Ruskin’s Wyre Forest and formed part of the major winter 2012 exhibition, Force of Nature: Picturing Ruskin’s Landscape, at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery (15 December 2012-16 June 2013).  Both the Prize and the Sheffield triennial exhibition (the second of three) based on the Ruskin Collection have been sponsored by the Guild of St George.

'Carol Wyss Scoops inaugural John Ruskin Prize', a-n, 10 September 2012. READ HERE

Left: Carol Wyss' Prizewinning piece: Centaurea Scabiosa 'Greater Knapweed' and Right: Carol Wyss 2011-2014 80 x 116cm, etchings - the flowers comprise intricate studies up of human bones.  

Carol Wyss’ work is a concerted search for the structure of things; she takes familiar structures apart and puts them together differently again.  The human skeleton is the basic structure through which she examines the relationship of human structures to their surroundings. Through dismantling and opposing existing structures new formations are created.  Abstraction is part of the process – not trying to hide the origins, rather broadening the possibilities for interpretation. What you see at first glance is not necessarily what it is.