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Painting student wins top award at the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition

Emily Gillbanks, current MA Painting student, has been announced as the winner of The de Laszlo Foundation Prize at the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition for her work Three Things. The de Laszlo Medal for Excellence and £1,500 is awarded for the best artwork from life by an artist aged 35 or under.

This year’s exhibition at Mall Galleries features over 400 works across painters, sculptors and printmakers and will be displayed until 24 April. In addition to works from the Royal Society of British Artists membership, the exhibition showcases works from the Society's open call. Three Things was one of the works chosen from a record number (over 3,400) of open call submissions.

Emily's paintings explore technology and social media through the lens of self-portraits and depictions of family and friends. She uses ‘frustrated angles, misaligned gazes, obstructed vantage points, sharp edges, and saturated colours to make reference to seeing through the surface of a screen’ as well as ‘oil paint to dramatise and provide a greater sense of permeance to the momentary, or fortuitous nature of camera roll images, or more recently screenshots taken from video calls’.

Emily Gillbanks, MA Painting, says: 

Three Things literally depicts how when “Being-together” with technology, we are also “Being-apart”. The figures I paint architecturally interact with their interiors, exerting themselves across abstract patterns and flat planes of colour. They characterise subtext and fantasy elements, referencing the immediacies of social media and the constant flow of images found in the un-curated galleries of our pockets. I ask how I can narrate myself and others both as subjects and objects underpinned by technology?’.