Young Sheffield artist wins national art competition for lockdown-inspired piece
Abigail McGourlay, 20, from Sheffield, has been named the winner of The Arts Society’s national Isolation Artwork competition for young artists during lockdown with her painting titled ‘Brewing’.
‘Brewing’ is a self-portrait that shows Abigail drinking a cup of tea in the bath, two things she said she has found comforting during lockdown.
She said: “I've struggled with the current situation both mentally and physically.
“The uncertainty of lockdown put me in quite a stressful mindset, and I found it, at first, difficult to feel motivated.
“But it is due to lockdown that I have rediscovered my love of painting. This piece captures a real moment of comfort in both my two favourite things, a warm bubble bath and a hot cup of tea.”
Young artists entering the prize were asked to respond to the theme of isolation and have produced new works that reflect their experience of lockdown. Many of the works explore feelings of uncertainty, isolation, loneliness as well as nature, connection, and love.
Abigail’s winning painting was selected by public vote and is also part of a virtual exhibition.
The student was in the middle of finishing her second year of studying Fine Art at The University of Leeds and was working as a swimming instructor when lockdown hit. She has been furloughed from her job and has been continuing her studies from home.
She said: “I decided to take back some control that the quarantine had denied me and set goals for myself.
“I began to learn French, work on my fitness and flexibility and most of all focus on my painting projects.
“Despite the struggle, I feel that I am much more optimistic about my future now, I know I want to make changes to my life and I have been proving to myself that these changes are achievable over the past few months.”
Abigail’s artwork alongside the other seven shortlisted artists can be viewed as part of a virtual art exhibition at www.connected.theartssociety.org/isolation-artwork-competition.