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Winner of Glen Dimplex Artists Award 2001 Announced

The winner of the 2001 Glen Dimplex Artists Award is the American film maker and sculptor Matthew Barney. The recipient of the award for a Sustained Contriubtion to the Visual Arts in Ireland is the distinguished Irish painter Basil Blackshaw. The awards, sponsored by the Irish-based company Glen Dimplex in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, were presented this evening (Friday 25 May) by the poet and writer Anthony Cronin at a dinner at the Museum.

The £15,000 Glen Dimplex Artists Award is designed to mark a significant level of acheivement or development in the work and practice of exhibiting artists. The 2001 award was open to Irish artists who had exhibited in Ireland or elsewhere from 25 November 1999 to 24 November 2000 and to non-Irish artists who had exhibited in Ireland in the same period. Matthew Barney was nominated for his film Cremaster 2 shown at Temple Bar Properties, in Meeting House Square, in May 2000. The Sustained Contribution Award is a non-monetary award being made for the third time this year. The recipient, Basil Blackshaw, is one of Ireland’s most distinguished artists with a career stretching back over 50 years. He was presented with a specially-commissioned set of polished candlesticks made by silversmith Séamus Gill from his Freeform Collection.

Described by The New York Times as “the most important American artist of his generation”, Matthew Barney is best known for his CREMASTER series of films. Slow moving and hypnotic, his films manipulate different theatrical and cinematic genre to produce works of great richness and complexity. These visually stunning, yet challenging, works are populated by an extraordinary variety of mythical and real-life figures from satyrs and fairies to the Utah murderer Gary Gilmore. Each CREMASTER instalment is accompanied by sculptures, photographs, drawings, artist’s books and video editions. Barney describes these as different stages or evolutions of the concept – sometimes expanding it, sometimes reducing it to a more concentrated form. A graduate of Yale University, Barney has shown in many leading public and private galleries in America and Europe including the San Francisco MOMA, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Tate, london, and the Kunsthalle, Vienna. Born in San Francisco in 1967, he now lives and works in New York.


The other artists shortlisted for the 2001 award were the British photographic artist Richard Billingham, the Irish painter Elizabeth Magill and the Belfast-based sound and installation artist Susan Philipsz.

Basil Blackshaw is one of Ireland’s most distinguished painters. Born in Belfast in 1932 and educated at Belfast College of Art, his talent was recognised from an early date. Initially acclaimed for his mastery of traditional approaches to painting, Blackshaw has continued to develop as an artist throughout his career, and is now most highly regarded for his very loose gestural application of paint and a very distinctive and subtle use of colour. His paintings of such sports as horse racing and boxing have made him particularly popular but Blackshaw is also a talented portrait painter. A major solo touring exhibition, organised by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, was shown in Belfast, Dublin and the United States between 1995 and 1998.

Commenting on the Awards Brenda McParland, Head of Exhibitions at IMMA and Chair of the jury panel said: “After much animated discussion the panel chose Matthew Barney as the recipient of this year’s Glen Dimplex Artists Award for his vibrant presentation of photographs in the exhibition and in acknowledgement of the originality of his Cremaster series, in which he has created some of the most arresting images of our time.”

Sean O’Driscoll, Chief Executive of Glen Dimplex, said that since its inception eight years ago the Awards have embodied many of the qualities, such as excellence and innovation, which Glen Dimplex sought to foster within its own group. He was particularly pleased that Basil Blackshaw has been chosen for the Sustained Contribution Award in recognition of his work over many years.

The Glen Dimplex Artists Award was first made in 1994 when the winner was multi-media artist Alanna O’Kelly. Subsequent winners were video and photographic artist Willie Doherty (1995), American installation artist and sculptor Janine Antoni (1996), photographic artist Paul Seawright (1997), sculptor and installation artist Siobhan Hapaska (1998), English photographic artist Catherine Yass (1999) and David Philips and Paul Rowley (2000) who work in film, video and photography.

The jury panel for the final selection process was:
Polly Devlin, writer, art collector and Chair of IMMA’s International Council
Gavin Friday, composer and performer
Dr Margaret Downes, Chair, BUPA Ireland, and Director, Bank of Ireland
Fiona O’Malley, Board Member, IMMA
Brenda McParland, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA (Chair of panel)

The Glen Dimplex Artists Award Exhibition continues until 29 October 2001.

A catalogue, with texts by Annie Fletcher and Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, accompanies the exhibition (price £5.00, €6.34).

For further information and colour and black and white images please contact
Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900,
Fax : +353 1 612 9999

25 May 2001



Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email:
info@imma.ie