Richard Kenton Webb, winner of the prestigious international Sunny Art Prize 2020

@PlymouthArt College appoints Sunny Art Prize 2020 winner as Subject Lead for BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking 

BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking students at Plymouth College of Art are preparing to welcome the college’s newest appointment, incoming Subject Leader Richard Kenton Webb, who has been announced as winner of the prestigious international Sunny Art Prize 2020.

From the start of November, Richard will join Plymouth College of Art from his previous role as Programme Lead on BA (Hons) Drawing & Print at University of the West of England. He has extensive experience in various teaching roles at institutions including The Slade School of Fine Art, London and The Royal Drawing School, London over the last thirty years. He has taught at some of the most respected art colleges in the UK and taken part in many residencies overseas, including The British School, Rome; Cité International des Arts, Paris; SACI International, Florence; LARQ, Tasmania, Australia; and Tao Hua Tan, China.

Richard said: “I love teaching. For me, teaching is a vocation, and I’m so passionate about helping each student to find their own unique voice. I’m always looking for new ways to communicate and share complex ideas. My teaching and my creative practice are totally interlinked, I have so much to give at this stage.

“Having visited Plymouth for the past 10 years, I’ve watched as Plymouth College of Art has grown, thinking to myself ‘now that’s a real art school’! It has been my dream job to teach Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at the college for a while - and then it happened! As I toured the facilities, I could feel myself getting more and more emotional. The ethos and mentality of the college is everything I stand for.

“Plymouth is such a beautiful city, I’d challenge anyone to be led up to the Hoe and look out over the water and Drake’s Island and not be moved. Doesn’t it just make you want to jump and dance around?”

Richard is an artist with painting, drawing and printmaking at the heart of his practice, even making his own paints and inks with pure pigments. He is currently working on a series of imaginative drawings, paintings and linocuts, inspired by John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, which has led him to new interdisciplinary collaborations with The British Milton Seminar, Baylor University in Texas and The Milton Society of America.

Richard_Kenton_Webb_Integrity_and-Awareness_I_ 2018_Oil_on_board.

Integrity and Awareness by Richard Kenton Webb (2018) Oil on board

He has exhibited internationally and has work in collections in the UK, Europe, China, Mauritius, Japan, Australia, the USA and Canada. Richard’s most recent shows have been in Texas at the Martin Museum of Art in Emergence, curated by Dr Richard Davey; and at the Sokei Academy, Tokyo in Seer: European Painting & Drawing, curated by John France. will be taking part in the Paris Contemporary Drawing Fair in 2021 and has been invited to the Josef and Anni Albers Residency, USA in 2022.

Stephanie Owens, Head of School for Arts + Media at Plymouth College of Art, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Richard as our new Subject Lead for BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking. His years of teaching expertise and experience within his own creative practice will contribute greatly to the programme, supporting a hands on approach to critical thinking, as well as promoting the continued relevance of material-based practices as a whole. During a challenging year for both students and academics, this appointment and Richard’s timely win of the Sunny Art Prize before joining us, sets a wonderful example for our students and reminds us all to strive for excellence even in the face of adversity.”

Winning the Sunny Art Prize 2020

The Sunny Art Prize is an internationally recognised art competition, hosted by the Sunny Art Centre in London. The fine art prize, founded in the UK, is a global platform offering art opportunities for emerging and established artists to showcase their work internationally. The contest also gives the prize-winners the opportunity to be part of a one month artist residency, with the Artist Residency Programme, which was organised in collaboration with established Chinese Art institutions, providing the chance to engage with historically and culturally rich places in China. 

The award asks artists to submit work exploring pressing contemporary issues, raising awareness of global themes ranging from climate change, the current international debate regarding immigration and refugees to our perception of identity, gender and much more. Entrants were able to submit work from a number of different disciplines, from painting and sculpture to ceramics and drawing as well as digital offerings such as video art and mixed media installations.

Richard’s piece Wreck, an oil painting on board, questions the motives and values that lie behind our actions and decisions that frequently cause the problems the world faces.

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 Wreck by Richard Kenton Webb (2017) Oil on board

Richard said: “I made the painting Wreck during a time of intense oppression, and whilst my work sustained me through that deep distress, it now has a life of its own. I like making what I’m carrying, and what needs to surface. I want to open up a conversation about the abuse of power. Is the boat sinking or has it just run aground? I am telling myself that I will not be destroyed, because at high tide, the boat will float away safely. I want to bring hope.”

Richard, by landing first prize, wins a £3,000 cash prize, a solo and group exhibition at the Sunny Art Centre in London, as well as a one month long residency and group show in China, either in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou.

Richard said: “It was unbelievable to win such a prestigious art prize! I feel very excited about the possibilities and potential international collaborations that this award opens up, for both myself and Plymouth College of Art.”

Plymouth College of Art is a specialist independent Higher Education Institution (HEI) run by artists and designers for artists and designers. Founded in 1856, the College, a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange, offers a range of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Pre-Degree study across Art, Design and Digital Media – combining over 160 years of history with up-to-the-minute thinking and cutting-edge facilities. Our two city centre campuses are also home to the public Gallery and Fab Lab Plymouth, and we offer a range of short courses, masterclasses, and a programme of Young Arts activities including the College’s decades-old Saturday Arts Club and strong affiliation with the National Saturday Club. In June 2017, Plymouth College of Art was awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark by Social Enterprise Mark CIC for its systemic commitment to social enterprise. This is the only internationally available social enterprise accreditation scheme, a hallmark for organisations whose business is primarily to create benefits for people and planet, with a guaranteed commitment to creating positive social change. In 2018 the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) ranked Plymouth College of Art as Fifth of all HEIs in the UK for class equality and widening participation.

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