Sophie Barber with her painting Phil

A Fine Art degree student from University Centre Hastings at Sussex Coast College has been shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award 2017.

(3 minute read)

Sophie Barber, 21, finished her BA (Hons) Fine Art Practice degree in the summer and was selected to take part in the Platform Graduate Award.

The Platform Graduate Award, which is led by CVAN South East (Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East), is an initiative to support emerging graduates with their art practice after they finish university.

This year, 41 graduates were chosen from 16 universities in the South East to compete for the prize of £2,500 and bespoke mentoring from professional artist Jonathan Parsons.

Sophie was selected by the De La Warr Pavilion, one of five partner galleries supporting the initiative, while she was exhibiting her final year project during the college’s annual end of year degree show.

Sophie, who is a painter, likes to work on large canvases and draws inspiration from her encounters with art history and everyday life.

“My passion for painting developed during my degree,” said Sophie. “I like to work with oil paint on large, un-stretched canvas. I paint intuitively, exploring figurative language, without really planning what I’m going to paint. I go to the canvas and explore images from my mind or things that I have absorbed from the everyday.”

Sophie exhibited her work at the De La Warr Pavillion in an exhibition between 16th September and 5th November which included graduates from University of Brighton and fellow Sussex Coast College student Amy Wilson.

After the exhibition, Sophie was then chosen by the De Le Warr to go through to the final stage of the competition. Sophie travelled to the Gas Works in London, where she had to present her work and rationale to a panel of six judges, five from each of the partner galleries and a guest judge, Rosalind Nashashibi, who is a Turner Prize 2017 nominated artist.

“I have recently started renting my own studio space in Hastings, where I have been able to continue my painting. Taking part in Platform has been a wonderful experience and I have learnt a lot from having the chance to exhibit at such an important gallery as the De La Warr Pavilion.”

Sophie will find out if she has won the award when Rosalind Nashashibi will present the award on 9th December at the host gallery, Modern Art Oxford.

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