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MA Fine Art graduate shortlisted for First Plinth: Public Art Award

MA Fine Art graduate shortlisted for First Plinth: Public Art Award

MA Fine Art graduate Melissa Pierce Murray was one of five finalists for this year’s Royal Society of Sculptors First Plinth: Public Art Award.

Jagged metal sculpture by MA Fine Art graduate Melissa Murray

First Plinth: Public Art Award is designed to offer sculptors an opportunity to extend their practice into competing for public art commissions. The winning sculptor is awarded £10,000 towards the cost of producing a large-scale sculpture which will be exhibited in 2020 at the Royal Society of Sculptors before moving to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Murray’s sculpture No Turning Back grapples with the ambiguous nature of progress. A seemingly precarious arrangement of spiky steel shards and tessellated sections of textured glass, the sculpture appears on the point of tipping, transforming or disassembling. Murray was invited to develop a maquette and full proposal including costings and health and safety considerations, over a two week period, before each of the five submissions were considered. 

Murray commented about the experience, “I certainly learned a lot about the process and considerations of public art commissioning process, and it was really nice to meet the other artists.”

"My intention with this commission was to communicate to wide audiences on multiple levels and elicit differing responses in the two proposed locations."

Melissa Murray

It was a busy period for Murray; while developing her maquette for First Plinth: Public Art Award she was accepted on to the CoLab Body and Place Drawing Residency. The funded residency aims to reframe the drawing of the body within unusual contexts outside the confines of the life room, and Murray used the residency as an opportunity to grapple with tone and rendering space in two dimensions.

See more of Melissa Pierce Murray’s work on her website.