The Max Mara Art Prize for Women shortlist was revealed on October 4, 2015. Of Ruth Ewan, Ana Genovés, Emma Hart, Tania Kovats, and Phoebe Unwin, one artist will be awarded a six-month residency in Italy, subject to an artwork proposal presentation, and in 2017 a major solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery.
Ruth Ewan is an installation artist who works with printed matter and events. In a 2015 installation, Back to the Fields, at the Camden Arts Centre in London, Ewan used plants and live animals in a recreation of the "French Republican Calendar," which was an artistically based attempt by the state eradicate religious and royalist forces.
Ana Genovés pulls from her own photographs and a database of found images to make work. For a recent exhibition at Standpoint Gallery in London, she made site-specific work. One, Concrete stage and partition wall (2014), was made partially from a raised portion of the floor and false walls already within the gallery.
Emma Hart works as a multi-disciplinary artist in ceramics, video, photography and sound. Hart expresses herself through photo and video of rough clay pieces and exaggerated ceramic pieces. In Giving It All That (2014), for the Folkestone Triennial, Hart installed pink ceramic arms extending ceramic cups in an abandoned apartment.
Tania Kovats was born in Brighton in 1966. She is a sculptor who works primarily with large-scale installations and time-based media. Her best-known work, Tree (2009), was made for the Natural History Museum and was its first permanent art installation. Tree was inspired by a diagram Charles Darwin drew in his notebook.
Phoebe Unwin was born in Cambridge in 1979. She is a mixed-media painter that works with India ink, spray paint, acrylics, and oil paint. Unwin paints still lifes and portraiture from memory, usually with an under-painting of washes. Aeroplane Meal (2008), is a painting of a food tray against a pattern.
(Image: Max Mara Art Prize for Women shortlist: Tania Kovats, Ana Génoves, Ruth Ewan, Phoebe Unwin and Emma Hart, Photo: Gabriele Micalizzi / Cesura. Courtesy Collezione Maramotti)