LONDON.- A 46-year-old mother of two who gave up a lucrative legal career to become a struggling artist six years ago has been awarded Scotlands premier prize for artists. This years Aspect Prize, which awards £15,000 to the overall winner, been given to Glasgow-based Patricia Cain, whose forensically detailed depictions of Glasgows new Riverside Museum under construction led to the judging panel voting overwhelmingly in her favour.
The announcement was made last night (Monday 11 January) by the actor and director and Scottish art lover, Alex Norton (DCI Burke in the television drama Taggart) at a reception in the London gallery of The Fleming Collection, described by Charles Jamieson, chair of the judging panel, as an embassy for Scottish art in London. This years prize fund is £30,000. Each of the four finalists, Patricia Cain, Alec Galloway, Paul Kennedy and Scot Sinclair received £5,000 in June 2009, when The Aspect Prize annual open exhibition was held at Paisley Art Gallery & Museum.
Charles Jamieson commented: The confidence and complexity of her paintings made Patricia a clear winner and although judging was difficult, in the end it was the strength and impact of the work itself which swung it in her favour.
Fellow judge, Selina Skipwith, Keeper of Art at The Fleming Collection, added: For me, Cain was a clear winner as I feel the work she entered will stand the test of time and provide future viewers with a historic record of the construction of this remarkable building on Glasgows waterfront, which has been designed by the eminent architect, Zaha Hadid. As part of the prize, I have selected Cains Riverside Museum Interior # 2 to become part of the permanent collection of The Fleming Collection.
Cains highly detailed work focuses on buildings, particularly at the construction stage, and brings a forensic insight into the process of drawing as a means of understanding the modern built environment.
Reacting to the news of her win, she said: I am stunned. Its been a very hard process. I gave up a lot to be able to make art. In the last five years, money has been my biggest worry. We really have been living on the breadline, as most artists do. I went from having a stable job to being a struggling artist. Winning the Aspect Prize makes all the difference in the world.
The winning artist, who lives with her artist husband, Sam Cartman and has two children, Tom, 20, and 14-year-old Ella, grew up in the Lake District and qualified as a solicitor after spending a year at St Martins College of Art in London. She relocated to Glasgow in 2001. Prior to moving to Glasgow, she owned her own legal practice in Carlisle specialising in medical negligence and personal injury work.
Although qualified to practise law in Scotland, she decided to follow her heart and accept a scholarship at Glasgow School of Art to study full-time. She was awarded a doctorate in 2008 and has been working as an artist for the last five years. Her first book, Drawing: The Enactive Evolution of the Practitioner, based on her PhD, will be published by Intellect Books later this year. She is also a recent winner of the RSA Kinross scholarship, the RSW Hospitalfield Residency and the RGI House for an Art Lover Prize.
The Aspect Prize Finalists Exhibition runs from Tuesday January 12- Friday January 15 at The Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8DU