Interview, The Talent

Caitlin Art Prize finalist: Gabriella Boyd

May 4th, 2012




There is a rumour that abounds as you finish art school that to be ‘bought by Saatchi’ means that you’ve made it. Painter Gabriella Boyd shrugs, seemingly non-plussed, when I suggest this might have been the case when two of her canvasses were snapped up by the advertising mogul last summer.


“Of course when you’re a young artist just moving to London any support is great, but my work has actually changed quite a lot since then. I don’t want to keep churning out the same thing just because it’s had some approval.” Refreshing words from an artist who has been on a roll since graduating from The Glasgow School of Art last summer. Having been awarded a highly commended runner-up in the Saatchi New Sensations 2011, a new body of this fledgling artist’s work is about to go on show at the Londonewcastle Project Space in East London as part of the Catlin Art Prize finalists show.


Gabriella’s work is unsettling in the same way as those dreams in which you suddenly realize that you’ve turned up to work with no clothes on. Nude figures, seemingly captured unawares, are presented in claustrophobic interiors. These spaces feel ubiquitously familiar and yet become uncanny as a result of the flattened perspectives and the odd arrangement and scale of the inhabitants. “I want to present these strange relationships between figures, spaces and objects but not be too prescriptive” says Gabriella. “By making the figures and spaces quite anonymous it is easier for a viewer to relate to the scenarios themselves and project their own narratives onto the work.”


Subject matter aside, Gabriella’s enjoyment in the act of painting itself is palpable in her loose, rhythmic brushstrokes that often teeter on the brink of abstraction. The influence of painters David Hockney and Francis Bacon who similarly tread the line between the figurative and the abstract is clear, and yet the work avoids being derivative. Her career may be only just beginning, but Gabriella Boyd is an artist who is confidently finding her own voice and looks set to continue ploughing her own furrow, no matter how much of an advertiser’s admiration she garners.


The Catlin Art Prize Exhibition is at the Londonewcastle Project Space, London E2 7DP from 3rd-20th May

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