23 November 2012


Last night at Modern Art Oxford, artist Joella Wheatley became the inaugural recipient of the Platform Graduate Award 2012.


Presenting the award, artist Lindsay Seers praised the 22-year-old graduate for the single-mindedness of her approach. To create the series of paintings that were exhibited at Aspex, Wheatley confined herself in an attic for a week. “When the things that our brain and body rely on to connect to and understand are taken away from us, this denies us the ability to ask questions and seek reasons for explanations that allow us to understand ourselves,” wrote Wheatley in her artist’s statement.


Victoria Pomery, Acting Chair of Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) South East and Director, Turner Contemporary said:


“We look forward to seeing how Joella will build on this opportunity in her future career. CVAN South East would like to see Platform continue to develop closer working relationships between South East galleries and their local Higher Education institutions while providing opportunities to support and showcase new talent.”


Wheatley was one of eight graduate artists shortlisted from a total of 31 as part of the Platform Graduate Award 2012 – an inaugural mentor programme devised by the CVAN South East network, between galleries and emerging artists from the South East.


Photo˙© Nathan Eaton-BaudainsShortlisted Platform artists, 2012 at Modern Art Oxford. Photo˙© Nathan Eaton-Baudains


Talking to Frame and Reference after the presention, Wheatley said the recognition was a great source of encouragement. “The professional help from these amazing galleries really pushes you on.” In particular, the experience of exhibiting outside of the college environment had been very revealing. “It was really good,” said Wheatley, “seeing people who questioned your work in a very different way from tutors or other students. That gives you new questions you can apply to yourself.”


Platform Award selection panel member and Director of MK Gallery, Anthony Spira said the standard of work throughout the Platform project had been particularly high, highlighting the wealth of Fine Art talent in the South East.


Over the last few months four flagship galleries, Aspex, MK Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and Turner Contemporary, have each provided a platform for 31 recent graduates from each of their local art colleges, of which eight were shortlisted for the award.


Wheatley will receive a 12-month tailored programme of professional development from the four South East art galleries as well as £2,500 bursary towards further development of her practice.