Clare Townley, a fine art graduate from Newcastle University, has been revealed as the winner of the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of the Year Award (GDNEYS) 2018. Born in Carlisle, Townley’s work draws on interests occurring in and to the natural world. For her winning proposal, Townley is looking to transform the Cheeseburn landscape with a series of long, sinewy, sprawling sculptures, mimicking the garlands and vines found so often in the natural world; in sharp contrast, Townley will make her installation from knitted plastic, highlighting the impact it has on the environment.
Clare Townley, winner of 2018’s Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor, explains:
“My work looks at the grotesque nature of parasitism, combined with our rapturous, human endeavour to produce plastic and, subsequently, our tendency to ignore how we deal with it. Our interest in, and obsession with, plastic vacillates between how much we love and adore it, and how much we try to discard it. I want to hang a series of knitted sculptures in the trees; for them to appear both decorative and, potentially, invasive. The installation is sinister, yet light, and very much dependent on how the viewer processes it.”
Townley was chosen as the winner of GDNEYS 2018, by a panel at Cheeseburn, consisting of: artist, Joseph Hillier; founder and owner of Cheeseburn Sculpture, Joanna Riddell; curator at Cheeseburn, Matthew Jarratt, and trustee for The Gillian Dickinson Trust, Adrian Gifford, as well as taking into account votes made by the public in-person at Cheeseburn.
The partnership between Cheeseburn and the Gillian Dickinson Trust is in its 3rd year and sees young artists applying to be shortlisted and then develop a proposal in reaction to the unique environment at Cheeseburn. Shortlisted artists are then invited to explore Cheeseburn and supported to develop a (hopefully) winning proposal.
Matthew Jarratt, curator at Cheeseburn Sculpture, said:
“We’re thrilled to announce Clare Townley as the winner of the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor 2018. Townley’s installation explores both the beautiful and grotesque nature of plastic, and we hope that visitors to Cheeseburn will consider this conflict in a way that encourages conversation around parasitism and plastic pollution.”
Cheeseburn will now support and mentor Clare through the development of her first major installation over the coming year and her new commission will be unveiled at Cheeseburn in Spring 2019