Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:46 UK

Digital landscape wins art prize

Tim Freeman's entry Hidden System
Judges said Tim Freeman's Hidden System was "well crafted" and unnerving".

A digital artist has been named Welsh Artist of the Year 2009 for his subversive take on a traditional landscape scene.

Cardiff-based Tim Freeman's entry Hidden System beat 500 other entries to take the title.

He was presented with the £2000 winner's cheque in a ceremony at St David's Hall, Cardiff on Sunday.

His work will now form the centrepiece of an exhibition which runs until 25 July.

Mr Freeman's black and white print of a pastoral scene of the Lake District with an industrial pipeline cutting through it, is part of an ongoing series of work in which the artist takes his influence from the great British romantic paintings of William Blake, Constable and '60s artist Robert Smithson.

"Hidden System explores the contradictions inherent to the physical landscapes we inhabit and pass through," said Mr Freeman, 30, who creates his complex multi-layered images using Photoshop.

Disillusion by Corrie Chiswell
Disillusion by Corrie Chiswell won the painting award

The judging panel, which included renowned Welsh artist Terry Setch and last year's winner Philippa Lawrence, said it was the "quality" of Mr Freeman's image which stood out from the other entries, including many by well-known and professional Welsh artists.

"Tim's images are so well crafted. They draw you in and hold your interest," said Ms Lawrence.

"I find his work unnerving as I fear we will one day get used to seeing the familiar yet distorted and surreal landscapes he portrays."

Born in Alberta, Canada, and raised in the Yorkshire Dales, Mr Freeman moved to Cardiff in 1998 to study at the University of Wales Institute, Howard Gardens, Cardiff.

His work has been exhibited widely at the Bay Art, Tactile Bosch and G39 galleries in Cardiff.

"It means a great deal to me to win the title," he said.

"To have my work recognised at such a high level is a great honour and will give me the impetus to advance further with my work."


Overall winner and printmaking: Tim Freeman, Cardiff for Hidden System
Runner up and photography award: Fern Thomas, Swansea for Bird as External Organ
Drawing award: Owen Griffiths, Swansea for Salt Field: The Grower
Time-based media: Adele Vye, Swansea for On Wasting Energy
Applied arts: Nicola Palterman, Swansea for Aur Du
Painting: Corrie Chiswell, Cardiff for Disillusion
Sculpture: James Exton, Ynysybwl for Nature Conforms
Student: Jason Davies, Creigiau for Abstract Systems
Highly commended: Claudia Lis, Richard Cox, Rabab Ghazoul, James and Tilla Waters, Ashraf Hanna

Exhibition curator Ruth Cayford said: "Tim is so worthy of the title Welsh Artist of the Year.

"His work is awesome in the true sense of the word.

"The work is world class and his entry gives so much kudos to the exhibition, it will be really interesting to see how his work develops over the next few years."

There were also prizes for artists in categories including applied arts, drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, student and time-based media and five highly commended awards.

Five of those honoured are Swansea-based, including the runner-up, Fern Thomas for her photograph Bird as External Organ.

Jewellery made from coal and a film of a woman vacuuming on a mountain were also among the category winners.

Adele Vye, 26, whose five-minute film, On Wasting Energy, shows her vacuuming the earth on Mynydd Gellionen above Pontardawe, was successful in the time-based media category.

"The work On Wasting Energy comments on our domestic need for energy and its excessive consumption in the home and society," said Ms Vye, who is from Port Talbot.


Clips from Adele Vye's On Wasting Energy, her entry into the Welsh Artist of the Year 2009 competition.

"The piece traces back to source, by literally 'plugging into' the ground above the massive Liquid Nitrogen Gas pipeline which runs through Wales."

Swansea jeweller Nicola Palterman's necklace Aur Du won the applied arts award.

The piece features small lumps of coal set inside gold-plated cups.

"Fundamentally coal and diamonds are carbon. Heat and pressure change coal into diamond and the alteration in crystal structure results in colour change," she explained.

"Replacing the more conventional carbon used in jewellery - with the less 'precious' coal, I wish to express the importance this material has played in our industrial history, perceiving the coal to be the precious element."

Launched during the millennium year to promote Welsh artists, the Welsh Artist of the Year competition is open to any amateur or professional artists over the age of 18, living and working in Wales, and any Welsh-born artists working in the UK.

The exhibition features the work of all the prize winners plus more than 80 other pieces which made the shortlist.

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