top of page

Emery Prize 2019

Winner: Donna Mann | MFA

Donna Mann Emery Prize 2019

Winner of the Emery Prize 2019

18 October – 9 November 2019
Fridays 12 – 2pm | Saturdays 2 – 5pm
Free entry | All welcome  
#DonnaMann |  #EmeryPrize

PMB | ART are please to present a solo exhibition of Donna Mann, the winner of the Emery Prize 2019.

In this exhibition, Reckless Behaviour, Mann contemplates how we as humans regard survival and death; how we are driven to alter our behaviour in order to keep living and to deal with passing on. Focusing on the concept of ‘Thanatos’ – the innate death drive, an impulse to engage in risky and self- destructive behaviour – Mann’s artwork manifests itself in the form of two creatures: the apocalyptic pale horse and the moth driven towards the light which could ultimately lead to its demise.

As the handmade moths in the gallery flutter towards the light we are reminded that the compulsions of desire can ultimately lead to death. The pale horse looms above us in the gallery – on one hand the mythological bringer of the end of days, and on the other a wild horse as a visual personification of aggression and sexual drive to survive through adversity.   

Mann’s sculptural and painted installations remind us that we construct our own parameters for survival and living, stretching beyond the biological requirements of survival, to favour social survival. In fashioning our own realities, we inscribe values beyond those of animals: food for nutrition, shelter for purpose, companionship for protection and reproduction. We make things complex by attributing additional shifting non-empirical ideas of beauty, social status and monetary value.

Using a special technique she calls ‘Smoke Painting’, Mann etches her images through smoke, to reveal the underlying layers of gesso and metal leaf. The process itself seems to try to uncover and rediscover the inherent buried natural qualities in the materials she works with, as much as her research explores and delves into our humanistic traits beyond the constructed surface.

Reckless Behaviour is an iteration of a wider research project by Mann, which delves into the dynamics between human consciousness and the external environment.  Donna Mann is an Oxford-based artist who has recently completed her MFA at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. While her practice moves between the medium of performance, installation and drawing, her thinking is consistently sculptural, compressing the physical action of creation into her paintings and object artwork.

About the Emery Prize

The Emery Prize is an annual prize award to a Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, BFA or MFA finalist student. The 2019 prize the second year of the prize being awarded. The prize is judged by the Pembroke College JCR Art Fund Collection Committee, comprising of the Curator, JCR undergraduate students and Pembroke staff. The prize is awarded based solely on merit of the artwork displayed in the final degree show, along with a written artist statement. The committee would like to thank the Ruskin School of Art for their support in running the Emery Prize. 

bottom of page