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Woon Fellowship winner reveals year's work with new exhibition

26th September 2017

An exhibition of work by the winner of the 2016-17 Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture prize opens to the public this week.

Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton was awarded the prestigious art prize, worth £20,000, last year, making her the fourth recipient of the fellowship.

Her exhibition, entitled Field Studies of Touch, is the result of her year-long residency at Northumbria University in the Woon Tai Jee Studio at the BALTIC 39 contemporary art hub in Newcastle.

Rebecca’s work explores the associations between land and body, using the visual languages of archaeology and geology. The collected works included within the exhibition contemplate ideas of naturalness, truth and history, considering the slippage between inherited knowledge, predictions and interpretations.

Speaking about her work over the last year, Rebecca said: “The Woon fellowship has been invaluable for my art practice. It has enabled my work to really develop, allowing me to create four new collections of works exploring different strands and areas of interest.

“Over the last year I have taken part in exhibitions across the country, including two solo shows, four group shows, an open studio and a group studio exhibition with the previous Woon fellows. I've also joined The School of The Damned – an alternative arts education programme lead and directed by students, which has given me the opportunity to travel and meet artists from across the UK, getting to know different art scenes, as well as taking part in a group residencies.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the time, money, studio and workshop access that the Woon Fellowship has afforded me. I’ve also really enjoyed conversations with staff and mentors from BxNU. I’m excited to celebrate the end of the fellowship by showing new exploratory work. This exhibition marks new developments in my practice rather than a show that could be a reflective timeline of the year's work.”

The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize offers an exceptional opportunity for final year undergraduate art students in the UK, with The Woon Foundation funding three major prizes and discretionary commendation prizes each year to the value of £40,000.

Mr Wee Teng Woon, a Northumbria graduate and keen art collector, along with his three brothers, established the Woon Foundation Art & Sculpture Prize. The competition was launched in 2012 and has since attracted some of the UK’s most exciting artists.

The annual award is jointly coordinated and presented by the BxNU Institute for Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39 – the result of a collaborative partnership between BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria University.

Dr Heather Robson, Head of the department of Arts at Northumbria, said: “Throughout her Fellowship Rebecca has really made the most of the opportunities and the connections the BxNU partnership and the Woon Fellowship has presented. She has immersed herself in the cultural scene here in the North East, as well as contributing to artistic programmes nationally, building up fantastic connections.

“Her exhibition includes sculptural forms, objects, artefacts and documents that map the nuances and paradoxes of lived experience across time. Through the exploration of material processes she seeks to question whether objects can embody feelings and provoke empathy.

“Rebecca is an exciting and inspiring talent and has been a valuable addition to the creative community at Northumbria University and BALTIC 39. We look forward to seeing how her work progresses and wish her every success with this current exhibition and those which will follow.”

The Field Studies of Touch exhibition takes place from 28 September to 21 October at Gallery North, Northumbria University. It will be open to the public from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. The public preview takes place this Wednesday (27 September) from 6pm to 8pm.

To find out more about the Woon Foundation Painting & Sculpture Prize click here.

For more information about studying Art at Northumbria University click here.

Holly Hendry was the first Woon Fellow (2013-14), followed by Ramona Zoladek (2014-15), Kayt Hughes (2015-16) and Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton in 2016-17. Earlier this year Joy Labinjo was awarded the fifth Fellowship.


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