Barry Thompson in his studio at Leven Road with Ingrid Swenson, PEER. Photo: Fiona Haggerty (2015)
Barry Thompson has been selected as the fifth artist to receive the Jessica Wilkes Studio Award. The award provides the artist with a rent-free period of one year in their studio, a bursary to enable them to devote more time and resources to their studio practice as well as additional support via studio visits from other artists and professionals. With a value of over £10,000, the award is made to an artist selected from applications from current Acme tenants and we greatly value the continued active involvement of friends and family in the award. The award alternates each year with the Rita Harris Studio Award established in 2014. This year we are delighted to be working in partnership with PEER, who will work with the selected artist towards a solo show to take place in spring 2016. The exhibition will be supported by additional funding from Acme and PEER. Ingrid Swenson, Director, PEER, noted:
“From a very strong short list of seven, the panel was unanimous in their selection of Barry Thompson for this award. Thompson makes small, meticulously executed series of drawings that focus on a diverse range of subjects including his native Essex landscape, bird studies, contemporary rock musicians and uniformed soldiers. While his work is firmly rooted in a tradition of observational drawing, there is a further layer of disquieting enquiry that he brings to this level of scrutiny, where the quotidian meets the exquisite”.
Barry, a tenant at Acme Studios’ Leven Road studio building, said:
"I was over the moon to receive this award! It has given me the rare opportunity to spend more focused time in the studio without the burden of financial issues common to most artists. I will pursue making a body of work that has been in the pipeline now for three years or so. I am planning to work with images obtained from the Imperial War Museum archive where I can continue to engage with the themes that have been prevalent in the work up until now, albeit at another level. I am convinced that my practice will benefit from this and feel very privileged and humbled to be selected as well as very excited to be working with PEER in the near future."
Barry was selected by a panel consisting of Melissa Appleton (Jessica’s niece), Jonathan Harvey (Chief Executive, Acme Studios), Joanna Hewison (Jessica’s sister) and Ingrid Swenson (Director, PEER).