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Glen Dimplex Artists Award Shortlist Announced 2001

The names of four artists shortlisted for the £15,000 Glen Dimplex Artists Award 2001, orgainsed by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, were announced today (Wednesday 13 December) by the jury panel. They are American film and video artist Matthew Barney, the British photographic artist Richard Billingham, the Irish painter Elizabeth Magill and the Scottish-born sound artist Susan Philipsz.

Described by ‘The New York Times’ as “the most important American artist of his generation”, Matthew Barney is best known for his ‘Cremaster’ film series. Slow moving and hypnotic, his films manipulate different theatrical and cinematic genre to produce works of great richness and complexity. At once biological, psychological and technological, Barney’s films range in subject matter from the plight of a love-lorn queen in turn-of-the-century Budapest to the life story of the Utah murder Gary Gilmore. Each ‘Cremaster’ instalment is accompanied by sculptures, photographs, drawings, artists books and video editions, which serve to embody and define the series as a whole. 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 Centre, Minneapolis, the Tate, London, and the Kunsthalle, Vienna. He is nominated for the award for the ‘Cremaster 2’, shown by Temple Bar Properties, in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin, in May 2000. Born in San Francisco, in 1967, Barney now lives and works in New York.

Richard Billingham’s photographs present an unflinching portrait of his family and the urban environment around his home. He first began taking photographs as a means of getting ideas for his paintings, but later came to the view that they could exist in their own right. The photographs constitute a fascinating portrait of his life – tender, funny and melancholic. Frequent subjects are his father, Ray, whom he describes as a “chronic alchololic” and his mother, Liz, who “hardly drinks but does smoke a lot. She likes pets and things that are decorative.” Billingham has recently completed a number of video works and a series of urban landscapes taken around his home in the North East of England. He is nominated for his exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, which comprised these later works. The exhibition was originally shown at the IKON Gallery Birmingham. Billingham holds a BA in Fine Art from the University of Sunderland. Since 1994 he has shown in many group exhibitions and in solo shows throughout the UK and Europe and in New York and Los Angeles. Born in Birmingham in 1970, he now lives and works in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Elizabeth Magill is a painter of great versatility and inventiveness, whose work has always drawn on a wide range of visual sources. While she has often integrated photographic materials and processes into her painting, her primary concern has always been an exploration of painting itself as a medium. This has taken her through the use of pattern repetition, geometry and the photomechancial. Her most recent body of work is a typically idiosyncratic investigation of the traditions of landscape painting, via a witty parody of the landscapes of the Romantic period. “The spaces I create feel familiar but are more in tune with half visited, non places. Although they appear as landscapes, I relate to them more as some sort of neutral areas,” she says. She is nominated for her participation in the ‘Places in Mind’ exhibtion at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (October-December 2000). Born in Ontario, Canada in 1959, Magill was brought up in Cushendall, Co Antrim. She know lives and works in London. Magill attended the Belfast College of Art and the Slade School of Art, London. She has participated in more than 30 group shows and has had solo exhibitions in several UK venues and in Dublin, Madrid, Dusseldorf and Saarbrucken, Germany.

Susan Philipsz’ work deals with the spatial properties of sound and with the relationships between sound and architecture. She is interested primarily in the emotive and psychological properties of sound, and how it can be used as a device to alter individual consciousness. She has used sound, and more recently song, as a medium in public spaces to interject through the ambient noises of the everyday. Using her own voice, she attempts to trigger an awareness in the listener – to temporarily alter theit perception of themselves in a particular place and time. In the past she has tested her work in a number of modern public buildings where their neutral backdrops have provided an ideal setting for exploring the communal effect her work has on a public audience. Her more recent work has sought to sustain the listeners attention over longer periods of time, where the pauses between the songs are just as important as the singing itself. “My sound pieces are an attempt to lure the listener out of the present, to catapult them from the ‘here and now’ into a more private and personal state of mind”, she says. Philipsz is shorlisted for four sound works – ‘The Internationale’, ‘It Means Nothing to Me’, ‘The Dead’ and ‘Reminds Me Baby of You’. Philipsz holds an MA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster. She has participated in many group shows worldwide, including Manifesta 3, and exhibitions in Derry, Walsal, Amsterdam and Chicago. Born in Glasgow in 1965, she lives and works in Belfast and is currently on a PSI scholarship in New York.

One hundred and ten nominations were received this year, 36 from overseas. Commenting on the shortlist panel member Polly Devlin, the writer and art collector, said: “We were all greatly impressed at the richness and diversity of the submissions and these qualities are also reflected in the shortlist, with each artist’s work being not only so entirely different but created by such diverse means. These artists and their work are already lodged in the mind of the gallery going public, yet each has created work which is at once new, surprising and familiar – the shock of the familiar made completely new”. Fellow panel member Jonathan Watkins, Director of the IKON Gallery, Birmingham, said: “The 2001 shortlist was arrived at in the most obvious and democratic way. They were all neck and neck and clearly ahead of the rest. The artists short-listed had such different strengths, working across a wide range of media, styles and propositions. So far they are equally impressive to the panel. Our next step, deciding who will win, is obviously going to be very difficult.”

The Glen Dimplez Artists Award, sponsored by the Irish-based company Glen Dimplex in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is designed to mark a significant level of achievement of development in the work and practice of exhibiting artists. The 2001 award was open to Irish artists who have exhibited in Ireland or elsewhere from 25 November 1999 to 24 November 2000 and to non-Irish artists who have exhibited in Ireland in the same period. The four shortlisted artists will now be invited to show work on exhibition at the Museum, which opens to the public in May 2001. All four will be paid a fee of £1,000 at this stage. The £15,000 award will be presented to the winning artist at a dinner following the final jury meeting later in the year. The award was first made in 1994. Since 1998 an additional non-monetary award for a substained contribution by an Irish artist to the visual arts in Ireland has also been made.

The jury panel for the 2001 award is:
Polly Devlin, writer, art collector and Chair of IMMA’s International Council.
Jonathan Watkins, Director, IKON Gallery, Birmingham.
Mark Francis, Director, Fig. 1, London.
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).

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