Martin Claydon was the joint winner (with Max Berry) of the 2015 Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award and his solo exhibition opens on 2 November. We caught up with Martin to find out how the awards helped his career and to get an insight into his upcoming exhibition, And I Will Grow From This.
GLC: Martin, you won the Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award Prize 2015, how did the prize money help support your art practice?
MC: The Prize money from the LRMYAAP provided me the opportunity to solely focus on being in the studio making work. I was able to put some of the money towards living expenses and the purchasing of materials to explore new projects.
GLC: Since last year you have had a couple of exhibitions, one at Gaffa Gallery, Paragons of Virtue and What Becomes of Little Boys, recently held at M16 Artspace in Canberra. The work from these exhibitions is very different to your winning entry for the Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award Untitled, Figure in Space, oil on board 2015 (above) . Where has your practice taken you and what are your main ideas, influences and concerns now?
MC: Since winning the prize my practise feels like it has matured a great deal. I think it’s imperative an artist continuously reconsiders his/her impetus for making art and why it’s relevant to the viewer. My work examines belief systems and power structures among other concerns. I like to think of my work as an overall presence, rather than individual works. Influences come from Neo-expressionism and politically charged Social-realism, such as Baselitz and Golub. Subject mater is a response to the over saturation of images and information, personal experience and observation.
GLC: You received a solo exhibition as part of your prize in 2015, which will open in Gallery Lane Cove on the 2nd of November. What can we expect from your upcoming exhibition And I Will Grow From This?
MC: And I Will Grow From This, is a concentrated exploration into masculinity. The exhibition provides a look into several bodies of work, with a focus on the common theme. There is a considerable virility about the work presented here, yet a considered approach presses concerns about how we raise our boys and the ugly pressures behind masculinity. And I Will Grow From This, directs light on some of the confusion, expectation and anxiety surrounding the macho characteristics.
GLC: How can art and government organisations like Gallery Lane Cove and Lane Cove Council, assist emerging artists in developing their art practice and support the making of new and challenging work?
MC: The best support for emerging artists in my opinion is exposure and the chance to show their work. The creation of art doesn’t rely on money but in order be an artist today its important. Prizes with monetary value go a long way to help support the artist and relieve the pressures keeping them from the studio. I think there is plenty of room for Gallery Lane Cove’s model to be replicated throughout Sydney. More emphasis on the importance of knitting together communities, platforms for new ideas, access to free education. Building intelligent, diverse, unified, proud creative communities. I have seen the great artists of the world do this. It is grass root opportunities which lay the solid foundation for artists and their communities for the future.
For more information on the exhibition please visit our website www.gallerylanecove.com.au
Life Savers 2016, mixed media on paper
Untitled, Figure in Space 2015, oil on board
Not for Burning, Not for Drowning 2016, universal vinyl, VC tarpaulin
People in pain, mixed media on paper 2015, h76cm x 168cm