Figurative Art Today: A panel discussion


The evening will include lively debate, an artist painting live in the gallery, paper and pencils for you to draw along and the chance to view The Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today with a glass or two of wine.

Our panel discusses the ways in which contemporary artists chose to reflect the world around them, and explores how representational artists today can go beyond representing physicality, by interpreting social realities and personal experiences.

Join us to consider the relationship of figuration and abstraction and to embrace the ever changing condition of contemporary art.

The panel is hosted by Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive of Creative United and the leader of Own Art, panelists are former Columbia Threadneedle Prize winner, Tina Jenkins; current Columbia Threadneedle Prize exhibitor, Marguerite Horner; Lewis McNaught, Director of Mall Galleries.

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today

The £20,000 Columbia Threadneedle Prize, UK and Europe’s pre-eminent prize for figurative and representational art, showcases important new works by emerging and established artists. A further prize of £10,000 is voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

The Panel

Mary-Alice Stack

Mary-Alice Stack is Chief Executive of Creative United and the leader of its Own Art scheme. Creative United is a community interest company that supports economic growth and social impact in the arts, cultural and creative industries across the UK.

Mary-Alice studied Fine Art at Falmouth and is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art. She has a longstanding interest in the area of arts and health, having spent the formative years of her professional career working for the charity Paintings in Hospitals, and subsequently as Chair of Westminster Arts, a charity that promotes social inclusion through the development and delivery of innovative arts based activities and experiences.

Prior to setting up Creative United, she spent eight years working for Arts Council England leading on the development of a range of pioneering public engagement and access to finance initiatives including the Own Art, Take it away and Creative Industry Finance programmes, all of which have subsequently been delivered and developed further by Creative United.

Lewis McNaught, Director Mall Galleries

As Director, Lewis is responsible for delivering the charity’s core objectives, leading its fund development programme and providing exhibition services to Members and other hirers of the Mall Galleries. He also manages the Federation’s major corporate and sponsorship relations.

A graduate of Bristol University, where he studied History of Art and Archaeology, he spent the next five years at the British Museum in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, before moving to New York for three years. On returning to the UK he joined the leading London-based investment company, Gartmore Investment Management, where he worked for 19 years. He joined Mall Galleries in 2006.

Tina Jenkins is unable to attend and is replaced by:

Ruth Stage NEAC

Ruth shows us the minutiae of the grand vista, a landscape of illumination, pattern, reflection and great distance. Working in egg tempera she creates a fluidity that reveals dramatic skies, mountain ranges, turbulent shallows. Superimposed onto this is the 'story of the day' be it figures on the beach, the first moment of spring, the remnants of a crop on a frosty morning. A limited pallette gives an impression of the subtlety of nature, a cluster of almost indistinguishable greys punctuated with the cadmium of a leaf, transparent in the evening glare. From this complex formula the artist creates coherence,revealing harmony and balance without interruption. Ruth is a member of the New English Art Club.

Marguerite Horner

After Marguerite Horner completed her B.A. degree in Fine Art in her twenties, she was offered two museum solo exhibitions, at The Mappin Art Gallery Sheffield and Usher Art Gallery Lincoln. Art historian and critic Professor Frances Spalding CBE reviewed these exhibitions in 'Arts Review' writing 'the intrigue of her work depends partly on the knife-edge balance maintained between painterliness and hard-edge photo-realism by varying the sharpness of focus'....'her natural talent combined with an intensity of looking lead her to begin as a landscape painter of more than average ability, using recognizable styles'. To support her practice Marguerite was employed as a scenic artist at the BBC where she trained and worked for 3 years, leaving to work as a freelance artist. All of her work during this time was commissioned and she painted in collaboration with photographers such as Adrian Flowers and David Bailey, painting backgrounds for publications such as 'The World of Interiors' and 'The Sunday Times'. as well as many award winning advertising campaigns throughout the 80's and 90's.

Together with her technical understanding, which Marguerite cultivated over the years, she also developed contextual understanding through studying for her M.A. in Fine Art in 2004. Her final works were awarded with the 'Kidd Rapinet prize' for outstanding work, this was presented by Sir Peter Blake.