A Rhondda artist who creates digital images has won the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the Cardiff 2018 National Eisteddfod of Wales.
This year, Karen Mackinnon, Director of Artes Mundi, Ingrid Murphy of the Cardiff School of Art and Design along with performance artist Marc Rees were invited to select the Open Exhibition and award the prizes. They were unanimous in their decision that the honour, together with the full monetary award of £5,000, should be bestowed on Nerea Martinez de Lecea.
Karen MacKinnon said on behalf of the selector, “Very early on in our discussions and deliberations we were all captivated by the work of Nerea Martinez de Lecea – the winner of this year’s Gold Medal for Fine Art. The Photoshop ‘paintings’ are created by layering flat colour onto the surface and using a brush tool to add, blend, and remove the paint mimicking ‘real’ painting.
It is not just the skillful execution but the extraordinary content, the portraiture that refuses to reveal the full portrait. We see the bodies, the clothes, the gestures of the person but the head and face are violently erased. Not only is the relationship between the viewer and in the image disrupted but that between the artist and model. In a world of digital manipulation her work raises questions about identity, authenticity and disruption.
Nerea Martinez de Lecea’s work spans photography, video, installation, multimedia and drawing, and more recently, digital painting. The Treorci based artist is no stranger to the National Eisteddfod – she won a monetary prize in the Fine Art section, when the festival was held at Blaenau Gwent in 2010 and has exhibited since then at the Vale of Glamorgan 2012 and Montgomeryshire 2015.
“Winning the Gold Medal at this year’s National Eisteddfod is obviously an absolute honour,” said the artist. “And the £5,000 will give me freedom and space over the coming year to continue developing my practice. It will be a substantial financial buffer enabling me to focus on the themes at the heart of my work, try new ideas and take more risks.”
The series of images ‘Child A’ by Nerea Martinez de Lecea is exhibited at Y Lle Celf located at the Senedd building at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod of Wales. The artist is also preparing a solo exhibition to be held at TEN, Cardiff next year.
Nerea Martinez de Lecea’s website: www.icantnot.com
Y Lle Celf Open Exhibition is realised in partnership with Arts Council of Wales.