Glen Dimplex award duo artfully blend old and new


The millennial Glen Dimplex Artists Award, worth £15,000, has gone to artistic collaborators David Phillips and Paul Rowley. They were presented with the award by writer and film director Neil Jordan at the Irish Museum of Modern Art yesterday evening.

A separate annual award, for a sustained contribution to the visual arts in Ireland, this year went to the distinguished Irish painter Camille Souter.

A self-taught artist, she trained as a nurse and began painting when recuperating from tuberculosis. She first exhibited in 1956 and quickly developed her own distinctive voice. Her work, much sought after by collectors, is chiefly small in scale, usually featuring landscape or still life subjects, and is lyrical and intimate in style.

Glen Dimplex deputy chairman Lochlann Quinn said he was particularly pleased the sustained contribution award had gone to her.

Phillips and Rowley, from Memphis, Tennessee, and Dublin, respectively, are based primarily in San Francisco and work with film, video and photography. Their multi-screen installations combine specially shot footage with "found" images from existing sources. With custom-made soundtracks, they explore "perceptions of memory" and the relationship between the individual and institutional structures. They have exhibited widely on both sides of the Atlantic and were nominated for various screenings of their work, including showings at ESP in San Francisco and at Arthouse in Dublin.

The youngest artists shortlisted for this year's award, they were generally regarded as outsiders. The other shortlisted artists were Wexford-born Maud Cotter, one of Ireland's best known sculptors; the highly regarded American artist Petah Coyne, who has worked with materials as diverse as wax and horsehair; and Dublin-born Clare Langan, who has built up an innovative body of work in photography and film.

Commenting on the winners, Brenda McParland, Head of Exhibitions at IMMA and chair of the five-person jury panel, said that "the panel found the artists' use of archival and found footage, as well as their own material, fascinating, and their statement about the world we live in refreshingly contemporary". Widely perceived as an Irish equivalent of the Tate Gallery's Turner Prize, the Glen Dimplex Artists Award was established in 1994 with the aim of raising the profile of contemporary art in Ireland. Previous winners include Alanna O'Kelly, Willie Doherty and Paul Seawright. An exhibition of work by all of the shortlisted artists continues at the Irish Museum of Modern Art until June 18th.