A Scottish artist, whose work focuses on creating abstract architectural space through the reinterpretation of buildings, has won a national award that spotlights up and coming talent from across the UK.

Twenty-three-year-old Megan Rea has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Open Contemporary Young Artist Award, a national prize created by The Biscuit Factory – the UK’s largest independent art, craft and design gallery – in association with its charitable arm, The Biscuit Factory Foundation.

Megan, who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2016 and now resides in London, has been awarded a £1000 cash prize for her work titled ‘She Saw It On the Way to the Homeware Department’ and will also have the opportunity for a solo show with The Biscuit Factory in the next 12 months. Her winning acrylic and oil painting is a visual exploration of an architectural model and illustrates a deconstruction of the forms that the model displays.

Megan, who is part founder of Edinburgh’s Mutual Artist Studios, says: “This news has filled me with so much excitement and joy! I am very touched by the feedback from the judging panel and it has given me a lot of confidence in my work. For my solo exhibition, I would like to install sculptural elements that reflect the painted geometric shapes and immerse the viewer in a built architectural environment.  I’m very much looking forward to planning the show!”

Curator Lauren Baker adds: “The panel agreed that Megan’s work had a beautiful use of colour, and we were impressed by the subtlety of shade used to build atmosphere and space. We were drawn to the architectural references, and it really made us want to see more of Megan’s work in the gallery space itself, which we think will make for an interesting architectural combination!”

The public also had the chance to vote for their favourite piece. The accolade of People’s Choice Winner, plus a cash prize of £250, has been awarded to freelance illustrator and printmaker Gordy Wright for his work Blackbird. Gordy, who is based in Bristol, says:  “Every artist’s work was so interesting and beautiful in its own unique way which, for me, makes it an even more flattering compliment to win the people’s choice vote.”

More than 600 artists from across the UK entered this year’s prize with 27 making the shortlist. The finalists’ artwork was on show and available to buy in the commercial art gallery, which is located in Newcastle’s cultural quarter, the Ouseburn Valley.

The shortlisted entries, which encompassed a variety of media – including oil and gloss paint on canvas, silkscreen screen print, watercolour on paper, pencil drawing, steel, powder coated copper, acrylic on plaster and sea glass –  were then judged by the gallery’s in-house curatorial team.

Ten per cent of proceeds from the artwork sold from the Open Contemporary Young Artist Award exhibition has gone back to The Biscuit Factory Foundation to contribute towards the facilitation of future arts projects.

For more information, visit The Biscuit Factory website at www.thebiscuitfactory.com.

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