Tom Hammick wins V&A Prize at the International Print Biennale
We are pleased to announce that Tom Hammick has been awarded the 2016 V&A Prize at the International Print Biennale. The event celebrates the role of print in contemporary artists’ practice, attracting over 130,000 visitors. The Biennale's Print Awards receive submissions from over 40 countries, and the winning artist is selected by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints) at the Victoria & Albert Museum. As part of the prize, a work by Tom Hammick will be added to the V&A collection. Three woodcuts by the artist are on display at the Vane Gallery in Newcastle as part of the event until 30th October, 2016.
This woodcut was inspired by Hammick's residency at the English National Opera, specifically whilst watching La Traviata. The lovers Violetta and Alfredo are pictured on their brief sojourn to the outskirts of Paris during their elopement from the bourgeoisie. Unlike the tragic outcome in the opera, in this image they are defying the hypocritical morals of society and making a break for it.
This woodcut was produced during a residency at St John’s Print Shop in Newfoundland. Whilst salmon fishing, Hammick came across a zinc plaque, nailed to a tree, hand etched with simple drawings of hunting and fishing gear and a narrative about a young man who had lost his life by the river. The commemoration was made with great love and affection. In this artwork, a man stands hardly noticed, next to his painted shack. Over the blackfly netted door, moose’s antlers hang as an ode to Elizabeth Bishop’s poem about wonderment of the same title.
This piece celebrates an intense romantic connection between a couple; two figures living life on an island. As in the first Act of Tristan and Isolde, they are cocooned in their passion away from the world. Hammick has conjured up as much a feeling of loss as intense happiness through their isolation and the terrestrial distance that separates them from the urban life they have run from. The image is also in part inspired by a Pablo Neruda poem titled Enigmas about the extraordinary mystery of sea life, and from a found photograph of a tiny pacific island threatened by rising seas due to climate change. The surrounding sea adds a metaphorical dimension to the fragility of love.