Realist painting of abandoned urban space in figurative art wins £20,000 award

Ana Schmidt has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Columbia Threadneedle Prize, Europe’s leading open competition for figurative and representational art, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Ana receives a cash prize of £20,000 and a solo exhibition for a wider body of work in the Threadneedle Space at Mall Galleries.

Ana Schmidt is a 'realist' painter based in Bilbao, where she works as an urban planning architect and figurative painter. Her work focuses on depictions of urban landscapes and how they appear in our everyday experience. Finding inspiration from her immediate surroundings, Ana is especially interested in painting the territorial changes brought on over the last decades by the process of urban transformation and sprawl.

Her winning work, Dead End, is one of a series of gritty cityscape works that document in fine detail the abandoned urban spaces, spaces that normally escape our awareness, as the periphery, the fringes, where cities become blurred.

Ana has previously won major awards in the USA, Italy and Spain and has exhibited her paintings and drawings extensively in group exhibitions in Germany, the USA, Italy and, most recently, in Spain at Figurativas 2017 in Barcelona.

Chairman of the Selection Panel and Director of Mall Galleries, Lewis McNaught said, “It is always a difficult task to select just one winning work from all those entered for the Prize – but with Ana’s painting, the selectors were all struck by the macabre and melancholic beauty that she has conjured up with her extremely skilled brushwork. With this large canvas, Ana is calling on us to wake up to the increasing levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty rife in modern cities. It’s a powerful work.”

Alison Jefferis, Head of Corporate Affairs, Columbia Threadneedle Investments said: “The Columbia Threadneedle Prize has grown in strength and reputation during our 10 years of support. Congratulations to this year’s finalists and to Ana for winning the prestigious Prize.  We hope it inspires visitors to Mall Galleries during the course of the exhibition.”

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for The Visitors’ Choice Award, a further prize worth £10,000 to the winning artist.  The Visitors’ Choice Award winner will be announced at the end of the exhibition.  Make sure you pick up your voting slip from the gallery desk.

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today

Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1

31 January to 17 February

10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

Admission Free