Self-Portrait Prize 2021 FilmWatch as Will Gompertz awards the £10,000 Ruth Borchard Prize May 16, 2021
Lucy Jones Winner of the 2021 Ruth Borchard Prize
Being 66, a life-size nude self-portrait by Lucy Jones, has been announced as the winning entry of this year's Self-Portrait Prize 2021.
Lucy Jones is known for her challenging self-portraits, and for exploring the "awkward beauty", as she describes it, of "femininity and ageing. Self-portraiture has formed a large part of her practice over the years and Being 66 references a work she made 16 years ago entitled Being 50. Each depicts a woman's changing body. Jones cites the work of Jenny Saville and a self-portrait by Lucian Freud as influences on the work.
Of her entry, Jones says: "Being 66 gives a nod to old age. Thinking about being 66 led to me thinking about existing, living and being alive. In the last 12 months, life has been in suspension for all of us. This year of such tragedy for many has left us us in a raw and vulnerable place. Painting myself naked shows me in a vulnerable state, but also a defiant one, as I turn my head to look out at you."
"This painting evolved over three months. Originally, I was going to have a black background, without any structure around it. However, the framework of the door held me within the painting, making me more static, and the cooler colours looked well against the gold and bronze. Sometimes I write on my paintings; this time not. I wanted no distractions, just the figure and the viewer."
Lucy Jones was born with cerebral palsy and dyslexia. She has said: "Every single brush stroke I have to fight for." But she is adamant that she does not want her disability to define her art. Being 66 has been painted with metallic paint as a suggestion of something precious.
Alongside Jones' winning self-portrait a longlist of highly commended works has been selected by the 2021 Prize judges: Will Gompertz, the BBC's Chief Arts Editor; Victoria Miro, international gallerist; The Right Honourable Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb, High Court judge; Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group; Richard Borchard, son of Ruth Borchard and David Dawson, the artist and curator, who was the previous prize winner in 2019.
The timing of the Self-Portrait Prize 2021 is poignant. As Victoria Miro says: "Many of the works in this year's prize were made during the pandemic, the uncertainty and sense of isolation creating a different mood. It is interesting that artists have made some of their best work during this period and the submissions were evidence of that. Lucy Jones, the prize winner, has made a raw and compelling nude self-portrait, drawing in the viewer with its honesty, unusual composition and daring use of paint. There were several strong contenders, but Lucy stood out."
The full list of highly commended works will be accessible here until 30th September 2021.
Highly Commended WorksThe following works have been selected from over 2000 submissions to the 2021 Prize.
And the Winner is...: Announcing the 2021 Prize Winner Lucy Jones