Former WSA Printmaking student, Gonzalo Rodríguez, has been shortlisted for the Jackson’s Open Art Prize.
The Prize describes itself as ‘an international platform for recognising excellence in art’ and Gonzalo is justly proud to have made it to the last 54 out of over 3100 submissions.
More about the prize can be found here.
After hearing about his success, we caught up with Gonzalo to find out what he has been up to since his time at WSA:
“Perhaps the most important turning point in my artistic education was during my stay in the United Kingdom in 2009-2010. The time I spent at the Winchester School of Art was a revelatory year that assumed a fundamental change in my intentions, both creative and personal. As an Erasmus Exchange Student based within the print-pathway programme at level 2 BA (HONS), I focused my reflected journal around still-life in an artistic production with a theorical researching. A soul among found objects was the result of my specialist practice. Thanks to Miss Vera Dieterich Wiltsher I could read some of the relevant philosophers and art critic writers, such as: Roland Barthes, Mathew Biro, Heidegger (The concept of time), or S. Casey (Remembering, A phenomenological study). In those days I often dreamt about the idea of my childhood as a distant object of desire, lost and unreachable. More nightmares than dreams, they repeated incessantly, staining all my creative work a pessimistic black. That is where the idea of memory as a personality modulator, as a premonition of the future, and as a trademark, came from. It was in Winchester where I started to become interested in minimalism and simple elements of daily life.
“The critic groups and subjects as museum & galleries were very important to deep in contemporary art, as well as to meet concepts relating to our relationship with landscape, as Genius Loci, a notion which is normally used in architecture or design with regard to the sense of a place. Gastón Lisak, a designer student from Barcelona was who approached me to this thought, as a matter of fact I began to read about this idea from that moment, being two years after the subject matter of my MA. Some of the talking heads impressed me deeply, I still remember the lectures by Ben Cove, Kjetil Berge or Maria Fusco.
“WSA was not only fundamental in an academic level for me but also vital to meet other students around the world. The town, however it is small, looked like a confined version of the different countries, and this aspect inspired me to internalize other art practices on myself. I felt I had a great chance being in UK and started to apply in some art competitions. I never expected to be awarded because I was focused at the School but found an art contest, announced on the wall of a gallery closed to the cathedral, and to my surprise I was shortlisted. The prize was a scholarship and a solo show for the winner and it was aimed at artists based in UK. I was given an appointment in the city of Shepton Mallet, in Somerset, and finally won the prize, which was sponsored by the Royal Bath & West of England Society.
“The solo exhibition in Shepton Mallet was opened on June 2011, and after that I went back to Spain and finished a Master of Arts in teaching by the University of Seville. At the same time I was selected in some different art residences, painting not only in Spain but also in different countries as France, Morocco or Serbia.
“In 2012 I enrolled at the MA in Art, Idea and Production, an official master coordinated by the University of Seville, giving to my final essay the title of Genius Loci, the geographical accident on landscape concerning visual arts. Before WSA, I was a very indecisive person but the time I spent there helped me to know myself much better and believe in my decisions and skills as a painter.
“Since 2010, I was lucky winning some art competitions as the 1st International Biennial in Los Santos de Maimona (Badajoz-Spain), the 1st Prize “XIII Casa Castilla y León Art Competition” (Seville-Spain), the 1st Prize on the National Art Competition Ateneo de Sevilla (Sevilla-Spain), the 1st Prize “Alfonso Grosso” (Seville), the 1st Painting Art Prize sponsored by the Real e Ilustre Colegio de Farmacéuticos (Spain), or the 1st Prize “Marqués de Guadalcanal”.
“I was awarded as well by public foundations as BilbaoArte (Bilbao-Spain), Rodríguez-Acosta (Granada-Spain), Fernando Villalón (Morón de la Frontera-Spain), Centre d´Art La Rectoría (Barcelona-Spain), Uncastillo (Zaragoza-Spain) or Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo (Seville-Spain). I also was invited to the International Biennial of watercolor in Brioude (France) and the 10th International Art Festival of Opovo (Serbia). In 2012 I won an Art Scholarship to study at the National Art Academy of Tetouan, in Morocco, few months after being back from UK.
“Relating to the Jackson´s Open Art Prize, in London, I knew the competition when I was spending a few days in Southampton, and thought this year could be a great opportunity to join it. Few months ago I took up again the same daily life themes I was working in Winchester, but choosing it at my grandparent´s home, and finally the result was the cupboard selected by the Jackson´s Open Art Prize. My next purpose is to work on a collective portrait of friends from WSA for the National Portrait BP Competition, in London.”