Arriving at the gallery the space seemed to have a hubub of excitement in the air as not only the nominees listed on the foyer wall vouched for the award, the event marks XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 10th birthday.
Walking through to the first gallery I was met with a fantastical sight of Jamie Fitzpatrick's pieces. A suspended revolving birdcage adorned with plastic pigeon figurines beside a wax totem of regal busts with pinocchio esque noses left me bamboozled at the creative talent that must be emerging from the city's art schools.
Next was Jude Crilly's neon focused piece, with a green neon light glowing from inside a sleek bmw with the surrounding space in darkness.
Leading on from this was Jayne Hayes Greenwood's Self Assembly, an oil on canvas abstract akin to the surrealism of Dali. Opposite was In Pieces paper mache creation of a fragmented body seen through a picture frame window.
Nestled in the darkened gallery Christoper Gray's gothic film Death by Chair played on loop. Although somewhat grotesque the piece sees Gray battle with a rubber hand puppet likeness of himself before taking a grisly turn where a goblin creature meets a gory end.
Finally Gallery 3 saw Neal Rock's enormous glossed silicone Prospons, resembling swathes of printed chiffon and bandages, Rory Biddulph's merging of the oriental with graffiti styled acrylic paintings and Hamish Pearch's portrait of a fuller figured lady in a sunset hue.
Overall the event was a fantastic launch pad for the nominees, all recent graduates of London's top ranking art schools. You could almost taste the creativity. To crown the winner visitors were asked to vote and place their ballot papers into ornate golden post boxes in the gallery foyer, rather topical. Happy Birthday XL Catlin Art Prize. x