Hepworth Prize for Sculpture Announces Names Of Four Artists Shortlisted

“Sculpture communicates an immediate sense of life – you can feel the pulse of it” – Barbara Hepworth (1959)

Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire has announced the four shortlisted artists and judging panel for the UK’s first prize for sculpture. The four shortlisted artists are: Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten, David Medalla 

The £30,000 new biennial award, The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture will recognise a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture. The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is an integral part of the gallery’s 5th anniversary celebrations and named in honour of Barbara Hepworth.

Dr Sophie Bowness, art historian, THW Trustee and granddaughter of Barbara Hepworth said: “The launch of the UK’s first Prize for Sculpture is a fitting legacy to Barbara Hepworth, one of Britain’s greatest sculptors whose career was enhanced through a variety of awards, from her early scholarships the Grand Prix at the 1959 São Paulo Bienal”.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield and Chair of the Selecting Panel said: “We are delighted to have such a strong and diverse shortlist for our inaugural Prize and are looking forward to working with these artists and to inspire and engage our audiences with the medium of sculpture. It is particularly fitting that we launch the first Prize of its kind here in the heart of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.”

He added: “There are no shortage of prizes in the art world, however few specifically recognise sculpture. We therefore wanted to address this by launching one of the UK’s most important new awards. We have based the selection of the four shortlisted artists on the significance of their contribution to sculpture in its broadest definition.”

The finalists will present their work in an exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield from 21 October 2016 until 22 January 2017. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged experience, debate and judge the Prize for themselves. The winner of the first Hepworth Prize for Sculpture will be announced at an awards dinner in November.

Phyllida Barlow said: “It was a surprise and huge honour to be short-listed for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. Without doubt, it will be a thrilling experience to exhibit at The Hepworth Wakefield and to take into consideration its dynamic architecture which has sculpture very much in mind. It is also exciting to be exhibiting with the three other short-listed artists.”

Steven Claydon said: ““I’m very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award. Although multifaceted, my work derives primarily from interaction with the world of objects: they are the conduits that provide access to the intangible realms of the emotional, digital and theoretical. In that way, sculpture always endures. This award is a validation of these imperatives, and of the part played by artists in Britain who contribute toward this medium.”

Helen Marten: said: “In a world collapsing under the pressure of billions of personal interfaces, it is exciting to celebrate our relationship to physical touch and the material substance of our daily actions. I am particularly honoured to be included in a shortlist of artists so dedicated to making sculpture, and am excited to make an exhibition with a group of such esteemed and diverse practitioners.”

David Medalla added: “’I feel honoured in being selected for an exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield. I think the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is a palpable expression of the greatness of Barbara Hepworth as a sculptor. I love her enduring and inspiring art.’ 

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2016 Judging Panel of five comprises: The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is supported by the following individuals: Linda Harley David Liddiment David Roberts