Richard Baker has won this year’s £10,000 HIX Award, the annual art prize set up by the restaurateur and author Mark Hix.
Baker prevailed over fifteen shortlisted artists with his work, Hall Stand.
Says Mark Hix: ‘As always, the judging panel, which this year included Tate Director Maria Balshaw and Mark Cass of Cass Art, had a tough time trying to pick a winner from such a strong field of candidates. But Baker’s Hall Stand proved to be the most popular and I congratulate him.
‘While it is a small-scale work, it stood out for its great beauty and quiet strength. I would also like to congratulate the second prize winner, Megan Mary Baker for The Night Pill, as well as the People’s Choice winner, Melissa Hartley, for her work Reflection. That said, all the shortlisted artists are exceptional, and I urge people to visit the exhibition and witness some of the most challenging and interesting art coming out of our art schools.’
Richard Baker’s practice explores the hidden human histories behind seemingly insignificant objects—often ignored, they bear witness to sensuous activity; be it remembered, lived, forgotten, or mythologised. In these modestly scaled works, the depicted objects are presented dislocated from their conventional domestic settings and isolated within an intangible space. The objects appear as unadorned, formal arrangements in a painterly restaging of the interrelationship between material, image, object and time.
The £10,000 first prize, which is put towards studio costs, was created in 2013 by Hix to give artists a platform to showcase their work and take their first steps in their professional careers. It is open to current students and recent graduates of UK art colleges.
As in former years, Baker will also receive a solo exhibition at HIX ART, Hix’s Shoreditch gallery. Meanwhile, the second prize winner receives £1,000 CASS art vouchers and the People’s Choice winner — chosen by visitors to the gallery — wins a weekend trip for two to HIX Townhouse in Lyme Regis with a dinner at HIX Oyster & Fish House.
This year’s shortlisted artists were: Alexander Dixon, Bianca Barandun, Christopher Hartmann, Dafni Atha, David Mullen, Gabriela Giroletti, Jacob Littlejohn, Jung Min Park, Lucy Gregory, Megan Mary Baker, Melissa Hartley, Paul Wood, Richard Baker, Saroj Patel, Yulia Iosilzon.
The judges this year included Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate, Eliza Bonham-Carter, Head of Art, Royal Academy of Arts, the artist Charming Baker and Paul Robinson, founder of Artlyst.
The main sponsor of this year’s award is the international gallery, Hauser & Wirth. Says its co-founder and President, Iwan Wirth: ‘Our role as a gallery is to be an incubator for art, talent and ideas. Artists are at the core of all our activities, so we are particularly proud to support the HIX Award, an initiative which helps artists at a crucial moment when they are starting out on their journey.’
Past winners of the award include: Nicholas Permain (2013), Felix Treadwell (2014), Ally McIntyre (2015), Joshua Raz (2016), Sam Bailey (2017). Last year’s winner Elizabeth Eade says: ‘Winning the HIX Award has been amazing. The prize money has allowed me to continue to take adventures with my work, which has been a joy. I have had a busy year exhibiting, preparing for my solo exhibition and finishing my MA at Brighton, this has really focused my practice. It has also given me a confidence in my artistic convictions and I hope that this has translated into my work. I guess I feel braver.’