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Kendal student, Oliver Clarke wins Romney Art Prize

Young photographer’s work on show at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Oliver Clarke: Romney Art Prize winner

A young photographer has won the prestigious 2019 Romney Art Prize and his work has now gone on show at Abbot Hall Art Gallery.

Former Kendal College student Oliver Clarke has three portrait images on display alongside works by renowned portrait painter George Romney.

Oliver Clarke Nostalgia held in our possessions 2019 Romney Art Prize 2019 Winner

His photographic work Nostalgia held in our possessions, will be on show until the end of the year.

Oliver, from Lancaster, 20, is the third winner of Abbot Hall’s Romney Art Prize, awarded to artists in Cumbria aged between 16-24.

Using an investigative approach to photography, Oliver explores and documents the relationship between a person and their nostalgic belongings.

Photographer Oliver Clarke at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Oliver said: “I’m often inspired by artists that use human emotion and experience as the basis for their work, and wanted to try that myself in this project.

“Nostalgia and people’s perception and relationship to the past has always interested me. I wanted to explore the psychology of it and learn about real-life examples from people that I could connect with and photograph for my work.

“My project was about exploring and then documenting different areas of nostalgic feelings caused by inanimate objects, ending in three main portrait photographs showing childhood, souvenirs and family heirlooms/hand-me-downs.”

Chelsea Eves, Curator at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, said: “Oliver is an extremely talented portrait photographer. His work highlights the power of the portrait, and it therefore seemed fitting to hang his winning piece alongside our display of portraits by George Romney.”

Oliver added: “It feels absolutely unreal and amazing to exhibit at Abbot Hall. I could never have imagined that my work would be hanging next to Romney’s until I saw it for myself.”

Oliver completed his Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Kendal College in June and is now studying for a degree in photography at Leeds Arts University. He hopes to develop his skills at university and pursue photography as a career.

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