Conceived and developed by Westmorland, the Westmorland Landscape Prize aims to document, celebrate and interrogate our relationship with the landscape. It offers a First Prize of £10,000: Westmorland, along with Selectors Cherie Federico, Anne Desmet RA and Hazel Stone are delighted to announce Sharon Baker as the winner.
Sharon is awarded First Prize for Packwood Fragment 14, one of a series of prints based on images of a topiary garden at Packwood House, Warwickshire. The garden is depicted as a ‘hyper-green alien landscape’, striking, startling and synthetic. It has been manipulated into an aesthetic that may pass as beautiful, but that has little or no resemblance to the landscape’s natural form. As an artist, Sharon is interested in the subjective nature of value, particularly in the form of what human beings choose to keep and what they choose to discard. Packwood Fragment 14 interrogates the value that we place in regulated beauty and questions the morality of the dominion that we attempt to hold over the natural world.
Sharon’s work will be presented alongside that of another 70 artists at the gallery at the Rheged Centre, Penrith from 13 September – 10 November 2019. In this inaugural exhibition, two themes emerge as dominant: conservation and environmentalism. John Stokes, Gallery Manager at the Rheged Centre comments that ‘the way we view our landscape is changing. The sense of it being something we possess is diminishing; instead, we are learning to perceive it as a victim of our thoughtless actions. An art prize about landscape gives us the perfect opportunity to talk about the challenges the landscape is facing and to redefine both what it is and who it is for.’