Artist Focus: Sam Laughlin – winner of the 2016 DWMA Professional's Choice Prize

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Sam Laughlin, Untitled from the series Slow Time, 2016

Sam Laughlin was selected as the winner of the Danny Wilson Memorial Award Professional's Choice by a panel of judges, listed here, on the strength of his outstanding exhibition Selected Works at The Regency Town House in Hove. Showing in the grandeur of the upstairs Drawing Rooms, Laughlin created two major installations of new work, Slow Time and Nests.

Installation of Selected Works by Sam Laughlin at The Regency Town House, copyright the artist

Installation of Selected Works by Sam Laughlin at The Regency Town House, copyright the artist

Slow Time is a reflection on natural forms: flora, fauna, landscapes and the quiet processes that happen within them. The work is an attempt to reach an understanding, which though informed by ideas from Geology and Ecology, is open to interpretation. The title denotes both the nature of the subject and Laughlin's approach to it: processes which take place slowly (often on geological timescales), and a slow way of looking at them.

Printed by Divebar in Hove, the prints are made in the subtlest of grey tones that demand slow, dedicated viewing. This decision offers an aesthetic coherence to the exhibition and makes the images more mysterious and timeless. 

In dialogue with his images, Laughlin also presented a collection of natural objects. Laughlin says: 

"I wanted the audience to consider the subjects of my images not just as abstract things in pictures, but as physical realities created by physical processes; to think about what is happening in them in the same way that looking at a pebble might make you consider how it came to be rounded."

Sam Laughlin, Untitled from the series Slow Time, 2016

Sam Laughlin, Untitled from the series Slow Time, 2016

Nests is a series of large scale prints that study animal architecture, made in collaboration with renowned behavioural ecologist and author Prof. Nick Davies. 

The Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) migrates to Europe from Africa each year to nest and rear its young. Their nests are built within reed beds, anchored to multiple reed stems above water. The construction method is based on a genetically coded set of behaviours. Each nest, built by a different bird, is a unique iteration of an instinctual process.

Sam Laughlin, Untitled from the series Nests, 2016

Sam Laughlin, Untitled from the series Nests, 2016

Born 1990 in Cambridge, UK, Sam Laughlin's practice is concerned with both man-made and natural architectures. Laughlin has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. In January 2017 he was awarded the Jerwood/Photoworks award to fund the production of new work.

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