Lydia Stonehouse and Megan Hack have won the annual prize which helps graduates kick-start their artistic career with free studio space in central Brighton.
Each year, University of Brighton students are selected by Cass Art and Phoenix Brighton to enjoy a free shared studio space for one year at the Phoenix venue – neighbouring City campus where Megan and Lydia studied at the highly-regarded School or Art and Media.
Megan and Lydia both graduated this summer from BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, which included having the chance to enjoy the first in-person graduate shows since 2019. Following on from BA showcases earlier this month, MA students will be exhibiting their work from 9 July at the University’s City campus building on Grand Parade.
Though she studied painting, Megan’s work also ventures into different forms, including photographic prints and weaving. Megan’s calls her practice a “collaboration with the natural world”, working directly with the environment, using organic processes to produce pieces which explore tactile connection to nature.
Megan said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, our relationship to the natural world has come to the forefront as a place of healing for both us and the planet. Another element of my practice is about this reconnection of people to land, focusing on the stillness, sanctuary and community that can be formed.
“In this way I have worked with local allotments, youth groups and community centres to run workshops redistributing my research on ecological art and making these fields more accessible.”
“I am beyond excited and grateful to be given the space in Brighton to continue to make work along the coastline. I am so looking forward to being a part of such a creative community, meeting and sharing skills with an array of makers, expanding my practice and growing as an artist.”
Lydia’s paintings explore how being present to our bodily senses can help us make sense of the world we move through, linking internal sensations and our exterior world. Lydia uses gestural marks and veils of colour to create a visual map of a sensation.
Lydia said: “A curiosity of how to visually capture the essence of everyday human sensory experiences in a way that re-triggers something of that moment for the viewer, is worked through in the play between abstraction and figuration within my practice.
“I am over the moon to receive this award and very honoured – what an amazing opportunity! It’s so exciting to have a studio where I can keep up the momentum of my painting practice and have a place to continue experimenting straight out of university.”
Mark Cass, Founder & CEO of Cass Art said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Phoenix Art Space and University of Brighton, to create an award that will profoundly benefittwo graduating students from the School of Art and Media, helping them to continue to develop their practice.
Lucy Day, Interim Executive Director, Phoenix Art Space said: “Phoenix Art Space prides itself on being a space where artists can flourish throughout the different career stages of their practice, and we are delighted to welcome two new graduating students as recipients of this year’s studio award.
“The partnership with Cass Art and the University of Brighton is one we highly value and represents an opportunity for the artists to immerse themselves in the professional, practical and social side of their career development.
“Our awardees always bring a dynamism and energy to the building, and we very much look forward to meeting Lydia and Megan later this year.”