September 22, 2023

The Catlin Guide to New Artists in the UK – see the contemporaryist of today’s contemporary art

The elegant cloth-bound 2015 edition of the Catlin Guide to New Artists in the UK is now available. If you have been round all the degree shows at all the UK’s art schools you won’t need it, but if you haven’t this book is a useful guide to all that is most contemporary in the UK art world.

Now in its sixth year the Catlin Guide is compiled by Justin Hammond, who somehow reduces the thousands of new artists he sees each year to only forty. No doubt many deserving artists are left out, and it can only be a brief overview of current practice, nevertheless it is a way to learn about the very latest artists that Hammond regards as having potential.

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Fanny Wickström, ‘Frances’ 2014, Chicken wire, papier mache, clay, acrylic, fabric and fake hair

Artists from London art schools predominate, but there are artists from around the country, including Wolverhampton and the University of Bedfordshire. Graduates from both BA and MA courses have been chosen, and an image or two of each artist’s work is shown along with a short interview which gives an insight into their work, personality and quirks. Patrick Cole regards himself as a modern-day bard, Mette Sterre is inspired by the Fibonacci numbers in nature whilst Nicholas William Johnson likes the dissonance his work creates around current discourses in art.

Artists that stand out include Lauren Cohen, from the RCA, who is experimenting with stop motion animation and painting. Lou Macnamara, who studied at  Central St Martins has investigated photojournalism in the age of the smartphone and social media in her piece #Watchingthewar. Mandy Niewohner of Goldsmiths has been working on a project called Man for a Day which challengers gender perceptions.

The variety of work being produced in the UK is very hard to summarise in one book of 124 pages. With just forty artists chosen, the Catlin guide doesn’t aim to be a complete survey of new artists, but is a welcome peek at some of the work being produced by recent graduates in the UK today.

Selected artists from the book will compete for the Catlin Art Prize which be exhibited at Londonewcastle Project Space, London 7th – 30th May 2015.

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