Artist Kayt Hughes, the winner of the Woon Art Prize 2015-16, has recently launched a stunning exhibition of all new work at Northumbria University.
My Five Year Old Could Have Done That has been made as part of the year-long Woon Tai Jee Fellowship which Kayt was awarded after winning the prestigious Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize in July 2015. The Prize, delivered in partnership with Northumbria University and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, is one of the UK’s most generous prizes for artists and is funded by the Woon Foundation.
In the new exhibition, the building block is an object designed to take on a narrative; becoming many things and performing many functions. The gallery evidences an interaction with the objects, using simple directions to instigate an action of chance, with consideration to the properties of the objects and their materials.
Dr Mark Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Art History at Northumbria, said: “Hughes's exhibition is a magnificent example of an artist fully utilising what the Woon Prize and the Northumbria, BALTIC partnership has to offer.
“The work reveals a sincere investigation of the kinds of decisions artists make that might on the surface appear casual but are, in actual fact, careful, nuanced and often tortuous. It feels like the exhibition really is just an extension of her studio but with a very clever articulation of the roles of artist, assistant and visitor that we otherwise might take for granted.
“The wry title reflects Hughes's artistic honesty, and it's great seeing how a year of work, and of interacting with the other artists around her, has produced something that talks about the act of making in such an open and clear way.”
As part of her Fellowship, Kayt has spent the last year working at Northumbria and in BALTIC 39’s studio space after winning the Woon Prize in 2015.
Speaking just after she was announced as the winner, Kayt said: “This is the most incredible thing that could happen to me. It’s so important for Northumbria University to continue to support the arts, and for pursuing art to be recognised as a legitimate career path.
“The sculpture was inspired by a piece of music I improvised on saxophone. I kept playing some wrong notes and drew a scale of these notes using maps, lines and colours, which was the foundation for the work.
“Being an artist is such an important thing for society. I feel very proud that my life is now dedicated to that and that I’ve followed my heart and I’m doing something that I love.
“The North East is a really exciting and creative place to be. I’m going to grasp this chance will both hands and focus more than ever on my work. I want to keep developing and make the very most out of this chance.”
The annual Woon Fine Art and Sculpture Prize, with a prize fund of £40,000, is generously donated by The Woon Foundation. One of its trustees, Mr Wee Teng Woon, studied law at Northumbria and is passionate about creating opportunities for new and emerging artists.
Northumbria and BALTIC jointly award and present The Woon Foundation Prize for Painting and Sculpture as an important part of the successful strategic partnership between the two organisations. Now in its fifth year, the Prize is open to all UK undergraduate Fine Art students who are in their final year of study, graduating in summer 2017. It will open again for applications in 2017. For more information go to: www.woonprize.co.uk
Northumbria offers a range of courses in its Department of Arts and was rated Top 20 in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. To find out more about studying at Northumbria University, come along to one of our upcoming Open Days or go to: www.northumbria.ac.uk/arts
Kayt’s exhibition is closed from 11 December for the Winter Break and re-opens on 11 January.
Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go to www.northumbria.ac.uk